Founder Richard Lisiewski was born in Riverside NJ in 1929 and grew up in the family’s hotel and bar business in the same town. They bought a vacation home in Beach Haven on the Jersey Shore in the late 1930s which ledto Richards love of the ocean and the beach. His surfing career would start after reading an article in Life Magazine on surfing. It became his goal try to surf and there was nowhere to buy a board so you had to make one. His first board was finished in the late 1940s with the help of a family friend who use to make Chris Craft Boats. This board was aprox 15’ and 55 lbs made of marine ply and it had brass fittings to drain the water. It took its maiden voyage in Seaside NJ. That board wasn’t around very long. It met an unfortunate end when it flew off the car and got run over by a truck (remember car racks didn't exist yet for surfboards).
But to Richard it was way to much fun to not build another one. The next board was built similar but much shorter at 10’ and it would last , in fact the board is on exibit at the New Jersey Surf Museum in Tuckerton presently. That board would be used up and down the Jersey Shore and all the way up to Montauk NY where Richard is credited as first person to surf that area when he was stationed there during the Korean War.
The spring of 1961 is when Richard would turn his passion into a business after a cross country road trip to California and Mexico and seeing tons of people surfing new foam boards he knew this trend would come east. He took a chance and turned his passion into a business, Surfboard building. Matador Surfboards was born. Named Matador after the brave brave men who stood with style and grace in the face of danger in the bull ring much the same stance as the waveriders he witnessed riding a large swell out in California. His first boards were crude but would get better and better.
In 1962 after things started taking off and Richards family had sold the family business and Richard moved on and built the large Matador Surfboards factory in his home town Riverside NJ and partnered with friend Frank Collier a master woodworker from the Hapico Cabinet Company to meet the growing demand. Soon to follow came the Collier Surfboard Brand. With surfing growing, production had to get faster and better so Richard under the advise of his parents had to go learn from someone who had it figured out already. So he took another road trip out to Caifornia and got a job (under cover) to work for and learn from Bob Bolen "Greek Surfboards" after six weeks of work and learning what he needed to and never revealing who he was Richard picked up and headed back east. with the knowledge to push Matador to the next level. The Factory by 1964 was also producing skateboards skimboards bellyboards wakeboards and even selling build your own surfboard kits. as well as even blowing some of their own foam with a 9’4’’ and 10’2 molds. With the growing production demand and even producing boards on the east coast under foss foams surfing labels to make them seem like California made boards which were all the rage back then. The factory was booming. This spike in production led to the growing complaints of resin fumes from the other tenants at the factory building. After picking up hundreds of board orders at the NY boat show 1966 , Richard was evicted form the factory and forced to shut down production Matador Surfboards would return to being a garage and basement company unable to fill its current orders. With lots of product on hand Richard would then try his hand at surf retail opening Brant Beach Surf Shop in 1966 and this would continue for the next 40+ years
Brant Beach Surf Shop opened in the Colony Movie Theatre building on LBI on the corner of the blvd and 34th st. Surf Shops were new and controversial to the area but the young generation was a little surf crazy so it worked and grew. Rentals, beach items and boards proved a winning combination. When Richard started putting in other items such as bikinis he was yelled at by local parents and called a dirty old man but this didn't stop him or his entrepreneurial spirit to try different items. Different fads would come and go like the tide and he went with them but stayed close to his roots. Over those years he had mobile surf rentals
boards on consignment in different places and was repairing and building a few boards here and there.
He even had a second shop in Brigantine NJ called Brigantine Surf And Sport which was run mostly by his wife Pauline who was always close by the shop. But taking care of their first child (Caroline) led to the closing of that shop.
The 1970s were smooth, the shop got very into the Skateboard ressurgence and all that came with it and boards were changing and beach traffic was also increasing again in another boom. There were all sorts of items that beach goers had to have so business continued to grow. At the end of the 1980 season things
would change again. They recieved word that the Colony movie theatre was going to convert into a four plex theatre and Richard was getting evicted again.
our 1960s and 1970s logo Inside Brant Beach Surf Shop our Brigantine Sun & Surf Shop
This eviction led to the moving to and opening of Brighton Beach Surf Shop in 1981 (where the shop is open currently). tired of evictions it was time to buy a property in a family friendly beach area that would reflect the personallity of the shop. Surfing in that area was big in the early 80s and the new wave of skateboarding was beginning. Fads come and go but the shop stayed mostly the same year to year whether the board of choice was a single fin log or a shrunken down transition board or a seventies single fin airbrushed speed demons or the twins of the late seventies to now the shortboard thrusters with there wild patterns of the time.
The next endeavor was getting into the surf wax business. Stik Wax only lasted a few brief years and was sold only on the east coast. Richard had this partnership with his nephew Joey and this homemade wax
was a great product but it fell short in its efforts to infiltrate the market, like so many of the small wax companies around that time it would only get limited distributing and then disappeared.
Brighton Beach Surf Shop in the mid 80s started to change and adapt. Now along with surfing there was this equal focus on skateboarding. Both of Richard and Paulines children were competing and winning in surfing competitions but now Michael their teenage son would get sponsored first by Variflex Skates for a brief time then a year later by Santa Cruz Skateboards. The shop mostly a summer business was now opening a pop up type skateboard stand in the Cherryhill Mall and also Ecelon Mall through falls and winter Christmas Seasons. This would last last form 1985 to the early 1990s