Author: Drew

Dec-Jan 2012 Grand Strand Magazine did a 2-page feature titled LIVING A DREAM, Artist Drew Brophy’s career reflects the benefits of small-town community.

GS-Magazine feature-Drew-BrophyArticle begins like this:

As a teenager, Myrtle Beach resident Drew Brophy had a simple dream:  he wanted to surf.  

After a few paragraphs, moves into this:

Brophy’s international career began with an impulsive trip to Mexico at age 20.  “I just really wanted to go to those places that I saw in Surfer Magazine,” says Brophy.  “I kind of felt stuck here; I didn’t fit in.  I just gambled and went to the gnarliest place I could think of to go surfing.”  Turns out, the surfers in Mexico fell in love with the innovative designs and techniques Brophy was using to paint his surfboards.  “A light bulb went off in my head,” explains Brophy.

Fast forward to the last section:

Now, 19 years later, though Brophy has traveled the world and earned an international reputation for his art, he still values community and family above all else.

It closes with:

And as for his artistic success, Brophy humbly passes the credit to his hometown:  “It took a community to create a person like me.”

To read the entire article, you’ll have to grab a copy of GS Magazine!

 

 

Year-book-cover-free-surf-art-(c) drew-brophyRecently several yearbook committees called me, asking if they can use my art to have printed on the cover of their book for 2012/2013.

Of course, I said yes.

Then I got a great idea:

Why not make it available to anyone?!

So here’s the deal:

If you like my art and want to have it printed on the cover of your yearbook, you can use it for free!

I’ll send your school the hi-res image of the art you choose, in a photoshop (pdf) file.

At this time, there are four images to choose from.  (Next year I’ll add new ones.)

Get your free Yearbook Cover Art in 3 Easy Steps:

1.  Choose the image you wish to use (see the 4 art pieces to choose from, below)

2.  Download and Print out the Drew Brophy Yearbook Cover Art License Agreement, indicate the name of the image you choose, have someone at the school sign the Agreement, then email it to me at info@drewbrophy.com.

3.  Within 72 hours I’ll email you the hi-res Photoshop File art for your yearbook cover.  (You can then have your graphic department size it and drop in your school name and logo.)

If you can, I’d love to have space for an advertisement in your yearbook.  Let me know.  (This is a request, not a requirement.)

Questions?  Email info@drewbrophy.com or call 949-678-8133.

Life is Good,

Drew

CHOOSE FROM THE FOLLOWING IMAGES

Tree-of-Life-Book-cover-Art-(c)-drew-brophy

Tree of Life (c) Drew Brophy

Sunrise-year-book-cover-Art (c) drew-brophy

SUNRISE (c) Drew Brophy

Kids-Beach-year-book-cover-Art (c) drew-brophy

KID’S BEACH (c) Drew Brophy

Walters-Wave-year-book-cover-Art (c) Drew-Brophy

WALTERS WAVE (c) Drew Brophy

 

Brophy Dream Machine Van at Nelscott Reef Oregon Big Wave Surf“Surfing big waves becomes a mission.  It takes money, time, effort, travel, and all at the last minute.”

A few years ago my family and I drove along the Oregon coast on our way to Seattle.  I brought surfboards hoping to surf some giant waves.

But, all I saw from the road was an unruly ocean, rugged cliffs and super giant waves smashing on rocks with not a surfer to be found anywhere.

The waves in Oregon are so big and dangerous it would be suicide to surf alone.  I just imagined my wife and son watching me disappear into the sea, never to be seen again. Big waves, strong currents, isolated as it gets, and oh yeah, big sharks!

But the lure of the giant surf along this rugged coastline was strong.  I had heard of a spot called Nelscott Reef, but I could not find it, and I had no one to ask.  So I promised myself that someday I would have to come back and surf this beautiful place.

Last week on Wednesday night I got the call; “Nelscott’s on” from my friend and big wave surfer Ian Wallace. He was on it, he had all the details, and all I needed to do was get there.

Nelscott Reef is a killer surf spot about a half a mile out.  It’s  in Lincoln City, Oregon. The Big Wave World Tour (BWWT), headed by Gary Linden, holds a contest at Nelscott when the swell and weather get just right.

Contest promoter Jon Forse thought it was a good idea to add a Standup Paddle Surf Challenge to the contest.  This was an ideal way for us to surf any big wave spot; with good friends, a support of bad-ass waterman on safety skis, and a lot of extra eyes watching out for you.

If I could be there by Saturday morning,  I could stand up paddle surf in the contest.

I was excited.  This was my chance to surf the Oregon coast, in big giant waves.  The drive from San Clemente to Lincoln City Oregon is 18 hours straight.  I needed equipment, time and money.

My wife laid out the facts.  “We need money for expenses, a tune up to the Dream Machine, a new board and a safety vest.  There’s no way I want you out in those waves without it.

Lotta gear to surf these waves!

Need a lot of gear to surf these waves!

Surfing big waves becomes a mission.  It takes money, time, effort, travel, and all at the last minute.  But I had been asking to surf these waves.  Now was the opportunity to do it with friends, skis, and good waves.  If not now, then when?  We went to bed Wednesday night unsure.

Thursday morning, Maria and I decided that if the Universe wants us to go, then it will come together.

We put the word out to our business partners and friends to ask for help.

I should have already been on the road making the 18 hour drive, but I had to be in Los Angeles for my client, Escape Camper Vans.  I paint vans for them, and I do an entire van in one day.  I told Rob Mewton at Escape about the contest. As a fellow surfer, he was stoked. They decided to help me with a major tune-up for the van and got it road-ready for the journey.  That was one thing off the list!

Then Maria texted me saying that Mike Muir from  Riviera Paddle Surf was on board, they would cover the entry fee and bring me some gear and a new 10’6” Ron House gun.    Later, we got word that another sponsor, Keen Footwear out of Portland Oregon, offered to cover our gas expenses and we promised to stop in at their new headquarters.  And of course my super organized friend Ian had an extra safety vest and custom-made big wave SUP leashes for me.

Maria and Dylan at Keen Footwear Offices in Portland ORegon Feb 2013

At the cool offices of Keen Footwear

It almost all came together too easy!  The universe obviously wanted me to go.

My list of goals for January was to explore and get some big waves up North.  I surfed Mavericks and Ocean Beach two weeks ago.  Now Nelscott!

With the support of my wife, sponsors, and friends, our adventure began.

Friday we headed up the freeway at 4:00 a.m.  Being a seasoned traveler, Dylan went right into travel mode.  We drove 18 hours straight to Lincoln City, Oregon.  We arrived just in time to meet fellow paddlers, Ian and Haley, at Mo’s for dinner.

Saturday morning was the first time I ever saw ice on my boards!  But, surf conditions were perfect.  No wind, sunny skies and a long period swell filling in.

The paddle boarders were to be the first ones out in the lineup; the guinea pigs, so to speak.  With the three of us out there, the judges hoped to see the scale and quality of the waves.

Nelscott is a crazy place; the reef lies about a half of a mile out.  You can barely see surfers dropping in from the beach.

To get out to the break, you have to battle through a treacherous shore break and a series of sand bars that are breaking like Puerto Escondido in cold water.

There were jet skis to pull us out to the reef.   I was ready with my 10’6” Ron House Riviera Gun, Kialoa paddle, hooded Patagonia wetsuit, boots, gloves, a Dakine safety vest and Ian’s custom-made double waist leash which worked great.

Bruce Topp photo of Oregon SkiIf you think getting pulled out by a jet ski is easy, think again The worst beating I got all day was on that ride out through the surf.

I cannot imagine trying to paddle out. Haley was impatient and paddled out alone, he is a madman.  It took him a long time and I worried for him. Our friend Wade missed his ride and tried to paddle out also, he was almost out when a set detonated on him breaking his board. Good reason to take the ski.

Once out there on the reef, it was beautiful and clear.  We sat so far out that you could see the great Oregon coastline with green forested mountains climbing in the distance.  There was giant bull kelp everywhere, making you wonder what creatures was swimming down there!

The first sets were small, 15’ – 20’ faces with not a drop out of place.  The right was long, allowing you two sections to enjoy with an easy exit to the channel.  The left was shorter but great.

We started to have a few bigger sets roll through, one catching me in the pit.  I had to dive and swim through it.  I don’t know how big it was, but a lot bigger than the others that I surfed.

All of my equipment worked well.  My vest popped me right to the surface and my double-waist leash pulled me up instead of ripping my leg off.

I was amazed at how lucky I was to be surfing with friends for 2 hours in perfect conditions at a gnarly spot like Nelscott.

Ian Wallace Photo by Stefan Czarnecki

Ian Wallace
Photo by Stefan Czarnecki

We rode wave after wave showing the judges and competitors that the swell had arrived and it was really good.

The lineup was soon filled with the best big wave surfers in the world; Guys like Greg and Rusty Long, Jaimie Sterling and Peter Mel.

Some of them said that we were crazy to be out there navigating the lineup on standup paddleboards.

One difference between surfing big waves on a paddleboard is that you can see the sets coming and you can jockey into the right spot by hunting the wave down.

Standup paddling does have you more at risk, though, once committed to catching the wave you can be too far in front of it with no escape.

Haley Fiske, madman

Haley Fiske, madman

Ian, Haley and I definitely earned some respect from our fellow surfers.  Even though standup paddling has advantages to regular surfing, in big waves it is ultimately a lot more difficult and scary.

We watched from the channel as our friends competed with hoots and whistles after every ride.

We surfed the South Reef for a while also; it was bigger and harder to catch.  After a few hours out there, we were all exhausted.  We realized that trying to catch giant waves with no energy was a bad idea.  I will return with a bigger board one day and charge that left I promise!

It took 45 minutes to paddle back in after the contest was over, once on the sandbar.  I decided to charge a huge closeout and barely made the drop; it had multiple double ups and it was everything I could do to avoid the lip, which was double overhead.  It sped up and mowed me down beating me 150 yards all the way to the beach.

Everyone got the same beating going in and everyone was stoked to get to shore after an entire day on the water.

Maria and Dylan were happy to see me safe, on land.  Their smiling faces ran down to greet me on the sand.

The beach was buzzing with jet skis, spectators and camera crews.  Surfers were standing around telling stories of their epic rides.  We passed out beers and enjoyed the moment.

Winner Jamie Sterling

Winner Jamie Sterling

That night, we all went to the Nelscott Reef Awards ceremony.  My friend Jamie Sterling won the contest, I had watched his rides from the channel and knew he had he had done well.  Everyone had a great time at the event.

In my mind we all won, we all made the effort to be there, and we all got to surf Nelscott.

The right place at the right time with the right people.   It had been a great day, one I will never forget.

Life is Good – Drew

Thank You to all that made this Possible for me, I am just a guy who loves to surf

HERE’S A VIDEO of one of my NELSCOTT REEF WAVES:  (Thanks to Bruce Topp of NorCalSurfPhotos.com!)

 

Drew Brophy Photo Ocean Beach NorCal SUP Every time a big swell is on its way, I begin to plan on where to go and try to get all my work done.

Even though I have organized my life to be free, sometimes I feel guilty leaving my wife and son for the pursuit of surfing big waves.  This past week was one of those times.

The swell was coming and I needed to be at the right place at the right time, but I was not sure where to go.  It was already Saturday afternoon and I was determined not to miss another great swell.

I usually head South to Blacks or Mexico, because I know my way around, but the swell would not arrive there until a full day later and it would be a lot smaller.  It was going to be hitting up north in the morning and the weather was going to be beautiful, sunny skies, 70 degree temps, and off shore winds.

What to do?

A couple years ago I met new friends surfing in Puerto Escondido, Ian and Haley.  They live in NorCal, they love big waves, and most of all they love Mavericks. They are normal guys like me, not pros and not burned-out old surfers with bad attitudes, but guys with their shit together, who CHARGE.  I decided to reach out and send Ian a message, asking him what was up and where was he was surfing the swell.

Ian and Haley Norcal Ocean Beach SUP

Haley and Ian, Ocean Beach

He sent a short reply: “START DRIVING NOW!”

Ian lives in Ocean Beach, San Francisco, and it is an 7 hour drive for me.

Believe it or not I do not connect with too many people, I often do everything alone. My wife is awesome; she pushes me to reach out to friends and not do so many things on my own.  She encouraged me to go and helped me to get ready.  While she was packing water and food for me, I was busy loading up the essentials on the roof of my van:

  • A 10’6″ Ron House Gun
  • A 10’6″ Riviera Paddleboard – Ron House board
  • An 8’0″ Gerry Lopez Pipe Gun
  • My 5’10” Ron House twin-fin fish, just in case all the models were wrong and it was flat!
  • and most importantly, my Patagonia wetsuit.  (I never got cold thanks to that suit)

I was loaded up and on the road an hour after getting Ian’s message.

It was about 10 p.m. when I arrived in San Francisco, after driving straight through, I pulled up to Ian’s oceanfront home with him waving from the window.  I had not seen him in two years, but he is like me, he loves to surf.

Paddle boarders take Charge!  Mavericks

Ian and Haley take Charge! Mavericks

The plan was to meet Haley at Mavericks before dawn. They were having the Maverick’s Invitational big wave contest with all the pros and the circus; we wanted to be there before they started, so we could get some waves.

We awoke at 4:30,  got on the road and were in the parking lot 5:15.  The police were already shutting down the streets, I guess they were expecting a big crowd.

We suited up in the dark and began the long paddle out.  The air was still and quiet, with a zillion stars in the sky, and due to the long period swell the ocean was unusually calm. I could barely see my friends as they guided me around the huge rocks, I was so focused on just getting there and getting out, I never really thought about what it would be like to be in the lineup of one the scariest waves in the world in total blackness.  I wish I could properly describe how cool that experience was but it is impossible.

I must say once there it was down right spiritual, it was a moment when all the effort pays off.

I was in my element. We gazed at the stars with giant swells rolling beneath us, waiting for the dawn so we could surf. As soon as the tiniest bit of light filled the air the waves exploded into view. My friends paddled right into the lineup and began to ride the giant waves.  I was in heaven, three guys surfing alone at one of the biggest best breaks in the world.

I caught one huge left and achieved two of my goals for the year:

  1. Surf Mavericks; and
  2. Spend more time with friends.

A half hour later  noise and diesel fumes destroyed the calm, an army of jet skis first, and then a flotilla of boats converging on the reef, then two giant coast guard ships, and news helicopters.

The Circus!  Mavericks

The Circus! Mavericks

Our Mavs session was instantly over, forty guys crawled into the line up and the circus began. so we sat in the channel and watched our pro surfer friends ride waves.

Something was missing, contests have become everything surfing is not.  We paddled in to refuel and go surf Ocean Beach, we knew it was firing.  In fact it was the best it had been in years.  But, Ian was down after hurting his arm on his last wave at Mavs. I surfed by myself in front of his house all afternoon.

It was huge and empty, just me and the sea, a far contrast from the circus we left. Hands down  the best surf session I ever had on my paddle board.  I was at the perfect place at the perfect time, We watched the sunset while drinking beer from the sand dunes. Our bodies were buzzing from the days waves totally stoked and exhausted.

The next morning the swell was smaller but more groomed and still great. Ian feed me coffee and  motivated me to charge into the sea once more. Haley met us in the water. Great rides were had by all and another epic session went into the history books.

This is what surfing and life is all about, being with the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Make the effort, reach out, and create new adventures.

Thanks guys for an fantastic 48 hours.

Life is Good Drew

PS:  Thanks to Bruce Topps of NorCal Surf Photos for the shots of me surfing Ocean Beach!

 

SUNRISE in South Africa As an Artist, people often ask me where I get my inspiration from.

Most all of my painting inspiration comes from nature and life.

Being a surfer and a traveler takes me to some of the most amazing places on earth. These experiences in my life are real and authentic, they become part of my story.

Art is so much more than painting pretty pictures, it is a different way of thinking and looking at the world.

It is raw creativity and wonder. Art is the ability to articulate an idea, feeling, or story, to others.

Here is a story about the SUNRISE painting I did after a surf trip to the other side of the world:

During a trip to South Africa, on the beautiful beach of Jeffery’s Bay, where the ocean is full of life and the waves seem to peel forever, I was inspired to paint the sunrise.

One morning before dawn, after the coldest night of the year, I awoke to be the first to ride one of these magical waves. Standing in the dark, shivering in my wet-suit, I used my surfboard to block the icy winds. The crashing waves kept me company but I could not see them in the darkness.  Above me, millions of stars illustrated the vastness of the universe.

As my mind began to wander, I felt cold and alone, as if I was nowhere in time or space,  just another soul or spec of light in the night sky so far from each other.

Finally a tiny faint glow in the distance caught my eye, it steadily grew larger with every second and in a sudden burst, a tremendous wave of light raced across the sky.  In a fraction of second it erased the darkness and the millions of stars. I instantly felt the warmth of the light as the wave illuminated me. I embraced it and basked in it, it felt like God’s warm hands on my face.

I was no longer alone, a new day had been born, the endless waves and our beautiful world came into view.  This is our true gift, every single day.

The earth is our mother.
The sun is our father.
The ocean is where I was born and feel most at home, it calls to me.
I am a Son of the Sea.

Life is Good,

Drew

PS:  Now Sunrise is available on stickers, so you can take it with you anywhere you go – check it out in my Store.