Andrew Brophy has crammed a lot into his 28 years. The Western Australian moved to London before his eighteenth birthday, kicked it with the crew that would go on to form cult brand Palace for a few years, met his future wife at 21 and moved back to Melbourne where he now lives with her and their two kids. Oh, and he’s also one of the best pro-skaters to step on a board in Australia – counting Converse Cons and Cliché among his sponsors. Right now he’s taking an injury-related hiatus from skating, but as we quickly learnt – that doesn’t mean that he’s not keeping busy.
Limit’d is a premium monthly digital magazine by Hype DC and ACCLAIM for iPhone and iPad.
Download it today for exclusive content, sneaker releases, and discounts.
How long have you been skating for?
I’m 28, and I started when I was 12. So I’ve been skating for a while [laughs].
How long has that been as a professional?
I turned pro when I was 23, so five years now.
You grew up in Margaret River, right? What was it like to grow up in a small town?
It was the best thing ever! I grew up on fairly big properties my whole young life with my mum and dad. You go to school, and you know everyone in the whole school. There were only a handful of skaters, so there was a pretty tight crew of us. The rest of them were surfers, and a lot of those guys have gone on to be professional surfboarders.
There was a skate scene there though?
There was a skate scene for sure, there were a few older skaters at the school. I remember seeing some do a pop-shoveit 50-50 when I was in year seven and just going “That was the coolest thing ever, I’ve got to learn how to do that.” Then in ’98 they built a skate park and the guy who built it, Simon Oxenham, now owns Convic and builds skateparks all over the world.
Then you moved to London when you were 17? That must have been a culture shock.
I was petrified, I didn’t know what was going on. My brother is 10 years older than me, and I hadn’t seen him in seven years. So my Grandfather was like “Do you want to go see your brother?” I said “Sure.” My mum is English so I had the passport. I was only going to be there for a short time, but it ended up being four years.
What was the skate scene like there at the time?
Massive. That was when [iconic English skate spot] Southbank was at its absolute peak, it was the real Southbank the whole way through the Undercroft. It took me ages to meet the crew, six or seven months. I was at the stage of “I don’t have any friends in London, I hate it, and I’m going to come back to Australia.” Then all of a sudden I met Lev Tanju, Chewy Cannon, Benny Fairfax, Danny Brady, Rob Matherson, Nick Jenson, and Stu Hammond. They all lived right next to Waterloo Station, in the palace, which is now Palace Skateboards. That’s where it all began, every day we’d hang out, skate, get drunk, and then repeat. It was like Groundhog Day.
Then you came back to Australia?
I came back because I met my now-wife in London, she was over there and coming home to Australia. I was 21, and I thought, “Yeah, now seems like a good time to come back.”
You’re off the board at the moment, what do you do when you’re injured?
Rehab [laughs]. Three times a week I do a conditioning course with my trainer, and then I’ll ride my bike 50 kilometres each day.
How do you fill the time when you’d otherwise be skating?
I’ve got two kids and a wife, so that keeps me pretty busy. I’m either at the gym, on my bike, or with my family.
On the flipside, how do you possibly find time to skate with a wife and two kids?
Well they’re super young, one is three and a half and the other is nine months, so if I’m going to go skate a lot of the time I’d just end up going to Prahran skatepark. I just want to skate, it’s not like I’m solo being like “Let’s go to the city and skate around all day.” I head to Prahran and just skate and enjoy myself.
I guess in the public’s perception, being a professional skateboarder and a family man doesn’t really go hand in hand. How do you balance those roles?
A lot of the times I like to plan skateboard trips so that I can get a lot down. I don’t want to go away from my family and just bum around. I’d rather go somewhere and be productive, or at least try to be.
Can tell us a little bit about the Cons project that you were involved with in Melbourne recently?
The project was all about the idea of building skate spots in cities, and involving the younger generation of skateboarders to show them how you can turn the front step into something that you can skate. Whether it’s building a quarter pipe out of wood, or grabbing some bricks and a little bit of concrete and making yourself a little ledge. It’s just a good way to bring people together.
How important is it to spend time with that younger generation?
It’s the best. When I was growing up I never had the chance to be near a pro-skater, let alone interact with one. Sometimes a demo would roll through and you’d be like “Yes, they’re all here,” but you’re not interacting with them. This way you get to have time with them without them feeling like they’re invading your space to get a piece of your attention. You’re there for them, it’s sick.
Do you think you’ll be teaching your kids how to knock together a quarter pipe?
For sure, that’s the goal. Definitely.
Andrew Brophy wears the Converse Weapon 86 Mid in Black/White.
Photography by Andrew Johnson.