In 1999 a skatepark opened down in Margaret River. I remember a few of us mosied down there for the opening. It was quite the highly anticipated moment. There hadn’t been a decent public park opening in WA in any of our skate lifetimes. Quite a few carloads of Perth and Freo locals were happy to make the three-hour drive in order to skate some smooth concrete. In Margaret River there was another eagerly waiting local. An enthusiastic Labrador-like lad greeted us as we stepped out of our vehicles. As with most skatepark openings there was a comp held amongst the various other family-attracting facets of the day. Brophy was in the comp; don’t reckon he was going to miss it for anything. Labrador-chub aside and Brophy was already showing signs of the power that he went on to possess on a board. Have you seen how a labrador puppy has really big feet, feet that are way out of proportion with their body? Well Andrew was the same. Those big paws of his would inevitably miss the bolts, and during this pivotal 60 seconds his unsuspecting board was be pulverised. Snapped like a toothpick. It was probably a tooth pick actually: was probably a 7′ 7/8″. It was almost funny. Not for Brophy though. He was in tears. I wish I was joking. With eyeball waterworks in full effect he came up to the judge’s table and pleaded for another run. He borrowed a board and made most of his tricks. Not sure if he won anything that day, but I did give him a brand new yellow tee – MC
A few months later and we came back and we were with two of the fattest poppers on the planet: Kenny Hughes and Reese Forbes. Brophy was there looking slightly less labrador-like and was still wearing the shirt I gave him. It was no longer yellow though: it was now a very faded white! During the demo Brophy was not to be seen, but you know he was off taking notes on pop. Forbes did a backside kickflip on the flat bank that was probably the largest one ever done in the state. One of the theories behind Brophy’s pop was that he saw this level of gravity defiance as normal. Reese (and Kenny’s) pop was immortalised in a future legend.
During the 00’s Brett Margaritis was running the team side of things at the now defunct Link Footwear. A natural with a very clear idea of style, Brett was the perfect guy to assemble an international team. Names like Marcus McBride and Jean Baptiste Gillet were assigned to the pro roster. The likes of Lucas Puig and Cale Nuske were ams. In 2004 I had just moved to Melbourne and had taken a trip back out to Perth to shoot some photos. I was rolling with Juice Clothing founder and photographer Guy Miller. It was on this trip that I once again heard Andrew Brophy’s name. Brett had seen real potential in him and had added him to the Link program (this was prior to him getting on Cliché). Brett’s praise alone hinted that Brophy was destined for great things. During our week or so over in Perth Brophy proved again and again that he was a uniquely powerful cat (no longer a labrador!)
The first time I saw Andrew skate in the city was at the freshly landscaped Subiaco Primary School. It was a bit of a hot spot at the time. Aside from the ledge across the dirt gap there was this perfect three-flat-four double set. Brophy was keen to huck! Unused to waiting for a photographer, Brophy was rattling off shifties way over all our heads whilst Guy struggled with his flashes. Before too long, Guy was ready to fire. After his obligatory “I suck at kickflips” call, Andrew threw down this boned beast. After a little haggling he preceded to 360 flip it too. The tre (and a nosegrind shot down at Phoenix Library) were ran in his New Gen in Slam, but this one snuck its way into the next Slam Photo Issue. We chose this kickflip for Brophy’s Form not because it is the best kickflip he has ever done, but it is one of the first, if not the first photo of Brophy ever run in a skate mag. It also is a fantastic photo. The trail of his red T. The Link boats on his feet. He sheer height he is above the stairs. You can almost hear that catch! They also ran it on the cover. It all points to the long and illustrious career that he had ahead of him at this point. One such career that lead to a pro model on Girl Skateboards. Who will be the next WA skater to make it to this level you ask? Might be worth seeing who Mr Margaritis has his eye on?