Recently, The Berrics recently posted a video of Cliché pro Andrew Brophy putting on a pair of Huf shoes as the eponymous Keith Hufnagel looked on. Was this a sign that Brophy, having left Etnies after a brief stint on the team, had officially switched shoe sponsors? Hufnagel and Brophy -- the U.S. legend and the Australian up-and-comer -- are associated with colossal ollies and raw power. If the shoe fits, right?
But the Berrics video, Brophy made clear to ESPN.com, was in no way intended as a formal announcement; Brophy is not currently sponsored by Huf shoes. In fact, Brophy emphasized that where shoes are concerned, he is a "free agent."
The first part of this interview was conducted by telephone, while Brophy was in Hollywood, Calif., where he now resides. The second half of the interview was conducted via e-mail, while Brophy was in China with the Cliché team.
Some journalists suggest leaving "controversial" questions for the end of an interview. First warm the subject up, so the theory goes, and hopefully the subject will eventually get into a more candid mood. Thus this reporter did not ask Brophy about his shoe sponsor status until after peppering him with somewhat inane questions. But, ultimately, Brophy had nothing particularly provocative to say about the sometimes enigmatic world of skateboard shoe sponsorship. Bob Woodward, The Washington Post reporter known for his part in exposing the Watergate scandal, believes the ideal time to conduct interviews is in the late evening, around 9 p.m., because people tend, at that hour, to be in a more "philosophical" frame of mind. We first reached Brophy in the middle of the afternoon.
ESPN.com: How are you?
Brophy: I'm good, mate. How are you?
Good. Did I get you at an all right time?
I am just about to jump in a car to go skateboarding. But it's all right.
Who have you been skating with?
I skate with Dylan Rieder on the daily. Also [Mike] Carroll, AVE [Anthony Van Engelen], Sammy Winter, Brandon Biebel. Whoever is about, really.
You're from Margaret River, a minuscule town in Australia. Is there anyone famous who has come from there? Yeah. I went to school with two surfers who are now pretty famous. Yadin Nicol. He surfs for Globe. A bunch of really good surfers have come out of there. No skateboarders. [Laughs]
But you don't surf.
I was afraid of sharks. I was too lazy to get up in the morning and chase waves before dawn.
What were the first skateboard magazines or videos you saw?
The first video I really got into was "The End" by Birdhouse. There were a couple older dudes at my school that skated. I thought it was cool.
I read that you love "The Simpsons."
I watch "Futurama" too. That show's hilarious. I'll watch anything really. I'm pretty easygoing.
Who is your all-time skate hero?
Mike Carroll is one in a billion. He just has that gift of ease on the board. He was meant to be a skateboarder for sure. Carroll is the all-timer. He has always helped me out and been super cool. I was just some random kid when we met, now he is a good friend and has a heart of gold. Thanks, Carroll!
So you're wearing Huf shoes? What's up with Huf?
Huf is my good friend and has always been there to lend me a hand. So I just got some kicks off him.
Could you say in a general way what you look for in a shoe sponsor?
Good shoes! And a good group of people behind the scenes that understand skateboarding. Being friends with people on the team, too. It's always nice to go on trips with your buddies.
Who are you in China with? First time? What's it like?
I'm in China with the Cliché team. It's my first time out here and it's crazy! There are so many people and they all seem completely bemused by skateboarding. I don't think they see it very much so they're tripping on us. It's cool though. Everyone is really nice. Language barrier is at an all-time high! Did someone say lost in translation?!