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San Clemente Journal

A profile on Matt Archbold “We’re Beach People”

Mar 11, 2019 11:09AM ● By Nina Welch

Archy in front of Archy's Garage

by Nina Welch

In the summer of 1970, the Archbold family moved to San Clemente--Mom, Dad, Brian (age 4) and Matt (age 2). After a day at the beach, when we returned to our apartment on Avenida Victoria next to Fred’s Liquor, I filled the bathtub with bubbles. Wet, sandy, and sunburn, Matt said, “I want to go home.” I responded with, “You are home.” Hence, a San Clemente local had arrived.

They call him a legend, a cult hero, punk rock on a surfboard, and one of the most influential rebels in surf lore. But what do they call the woman who gave birth to a legend? I guess that would be Mom. After the boys’ dad and I divorced, I took my maiden name back and got my college degree in Arizona. Matt supported my educational efforts but didn’t know why I moved to Arizona. “We’re ‘beach people,’ Mom.”

Matt was a high-achiever and knew what he wanted to do at a young age. Before surfing, he was into football, but when his older brother was surfing every day and entered surf contests, Matt got the bug. The prodigy surfer was doing a 360 within two weeks amazing his older brother and his friends. He got good grades in school when there was a purpose. The purpose was so he could surf on the National Scholastic Surf Team. He excelled in all the contests but he didn’t fit the competitive mold. He jumped on the fast track, with my wary blessing, when he quit school and turned pro at age 16. Travel was his education. 
He went from surfing every day, eating Cap’n Crunch, and playing Atari to competing in Japan, Brazil and Australia. He started winning contests but eventually, the judges didn’t know how to deal with his brand of modern surfing. He liked to have fun. He was rock and roll on a surfboard. Raised on the road with battle-hardy pros, he grew up fast. 

I taught my boys through example. I valued my freedom and independence and my boys valued their freedom and independence. As adventurers we were on our own separate paths—Matt the world surfer and Brian surviving being pirated off the coast of Nicaragua on a sailing excursion. 

My passion was eventually my quest for higher education and for my sons to see me reach my goal and to have goals of their own. I was proud to see Matt’s growth from his thrill-seeking lifestyle, no matter how long it took. When he became stronger, I became stronger. 
Wife Audrey & youngest daughter Poppy


After living in Newport Beach and Hawaii, Matt and family moved back to San Clemente in 2014. His wife, Audrey, originally a Newport girl, loves San Clemente. They live in an Ole Hanson house on an acre of land where he has honed his construction skills. He’s known as “da King of off da wall” on the North Shore but his favorite San Clemente breaks are T-Street and the pier. His ride is the Matt Archbold Built for Speed surfboard model, which has been a Timmy Patterson original design dating back into the 1980s. There’s also an epoxy Santa Cruz Matt Archbold Model and the Built for Speed Captain Fin Matt Archbold fin model.

Archy’s Garage is back by popular demand online at People might remember Archy’s Garage in the ‘90s on El Camino Real. Archy (I call him Matt) now runs the business out of his garage where he and son Ford silk screen t-shirts. Audrey is the Artistic Director and has designed Japanese wave T-shirts that blow out the door. The product personifies cool and can also be found on El Camino Real at the Catalyst Surf Shop and Republik of Kalifornia. The definition of cool (in a word): individuality. Matt is stoked when everyone all over the world, including kids, purchase his American brand built on talent, eyeball, experience, and necessity for representing a legend of modern surfing.

Matt gave me five beautiful grandkids.  Ford Matthew, age 28, follows in his dad’s footsteps as a pro surfer. He surfs for RVCA and is manager and bass guitarist for Tomorrow’s Tulips. William Burton, age 27, is a brilliant philosopher-tattoo artist. Ruby Ann, age 22, moved from South Carolina to LA. She’s a history major at Long Beach Community College with the goal to transfer to UCLA. Poppy James, age 8, is a talented artist and avid reader. She attends Concordia Elementary School where Matt and his brother attended. 


When asked what I thought of all of Matt’s tattoos, I responded: “What could I say when I have two of my own, and one of his first tattoos was MOM inside a heart?”

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