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ANDREW BEAUCHAMP INTERVIEW

14pm // 17.01.2018

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On top of ‘loud’, ‘sexy’ and ‘workhorse’, Andrew Beauchamp can now add the word ‘dad’ to his bio. I’ve never met the dude, but since at least one of those words also applies to me, Slam thought I was the guy to interview the Brisbane ripper for the mag. The following conversation occurred on Friday, 21 April, 2017. The next day, his son Arlo was born, and Beacho’s world changed forever. Trippy, huh?

Interview by Max Olijnyk. Photos by Wade Mclaughlin.

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Pole jam gap over.

I appreciate that this is a busy time in your life. Is it pretty hectic at your end?
You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But it’s not that hectic. It’s just that my girlfriend is pregnant and she’s ready to pop. She’s kind of over it, but everything’s still kind of the same, you know? We’ve just got a baby on the way, aye.

I guess that’s a pretty relaxed way of approaching it. Is there a feeling that it’s the calm before the storm?
Oh, for sure. Everyone’s like, “Your life’s over!” and I’m just like, “Righto.” It’s just a new chapter in my life, so I’m not worried about that.

Have you made a lot of preparations?
Oh yeah. The baby’s room has been done for ages now; we’ve got everything we need. My girlfriend Hayley’s parents are over from New Zealand. The baby was actually due yesterday, but he didn’t want to come out, so [Hayley’s] kind of stressing.

So are your mates telling you your life’s over?
It’s more other family members or people we meet on the street that are saying that. I’m like, god, you must hate your life, because I’m in love and I’m happy with my girlfriend, and we’re excited about this.

That’s a good attitude. I don’t know where those comments come from.
I think it’s just negativity. I really don’t have time for that because I’m a positive person. I just try to stay happy, you know?

I’ve heard you’re a positive guy. That’ll be great for your kid, too. Is it going to be a boy?
Yeah, I’m pretty hyped on that.

Your new best mate.
That’s it, aye? I can’t wait [laughs].

Do many of your friends that you skate with have kids?
Not really, there’s just a couple. [Andrew] Brophy’s got a couple of kids. Pedro Day just had a baby; he’s probably the first one out of our group to do it. It’s cool because our kids are going to be pretty much the same age. It’s going to be sick.

It’s good to have someone in a similar boat.
For sure, and he helps me out, tells me what’s up. He’s like, “Oh man, have heaps of sex before the baby comes because once it does, you’re not going to get any!” I’m just like, “It’s all good!” I’m not worried about it.

That’s more negativity.
Yeah exactly, fuck!

Are you going to take some time off work?
Yeah. I work for my brother Gerard; he’s a builder and I’m a chippy for him. He said if I want to take a couple of weeks off it’s all good. He was more than happy to keep paying me.

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Frontside heelflip.

That’s awesome!
Yeah, he’s a pretty awesome dude. He was like my dad when I was growing up. My mum and dad were older and I was an accident, so was my sister, so they were kinda over it because they already had four older kids. The older kids sort of looked after us and Gerard was like my dad. I look up to him; he’s a legend.

Well, he must be excited.
He’s a pretty straight-up dude. He’s like, “Your life is gonna change,” and I’m like, “Shut up, who cares? It will change for the better.” I’m a bit different to everyone else in my family.

Is part of that because you skate?
For sure, I come from a footy family. My dad played for Queensland, my brother played for Australia. I played footy in school and I wasn’t bad, but I just liked skating and my parents didn’t really like it.

Have they come around to it a little bit?
Oh yeah, they love it now. I’ve got heaps of nieces and nephews and they play on all my old boards. My sisters are always asking if I can get them some shoes. My brothers and sisters never hated skating, it was more my mum and dad who thought it was bad.

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Frontside 50-50.

I guess there’s a negative perception of skaters.
I think they watched a couple of videos and thought, “These guys are smartarses, druggies, whatever,” and I’m like, “Yeah, but there are smart-arses and druggies everywhere.”

Where did you grow up?
In Brisbane, at my mum and dad’s house in Carindale.

How did you get into skating?
There was Belmont State School – there’s an eight-stair there now, which is a pretty known spot – and back in the day when I was a kid, all the kids in the neighbourhood would be in the carpark. They had benches set up, everything. It was the spot to go to. My mum would always be like, “Nah, you’re not allowed to go down there,” and I’d sneak out and shit. She’d come down and chase me home with a stick.

Really? Was that because she wanted you to play footy?
She just didn’t want me hanging out with the kids in the street, skating. That’s what I think. She has a good heart, she meant well, but I just wanted to be a kid and hang out.

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Half Cab heelflip to the street.

Are there a lot of spots in Brisbane now?
There are heaps of spots in Brissy. It’s just not like Sydney or Melbourne, where you skate around the city and there are millions of spots; you’ve got to drive around a bit if you want to hit all of the good ones. Brissy gets a bit of hate, but we’ve had a heap of the boys come up here and they’re like, “Brissy kinda rules.” We’re all happy up here; we love it. Fuck everyone else [laughs]!

One thing I found when I became a dad was those day-long missions seem like such a luxury now. I have to be a lot more organised with my time.
I’m going to push my kid down to the park with my girlfriend, then have a skate. He can watch and then hopefully he can get into it. If he doesn’t, I don’t care. He can do what he wants.

I’m sure it will all fit in. It sounds like you’ve found a balance there, where your work life fits in with skating really well.
Yeah, definitely. If I have a trip or anything, I tell [Gerard] a month in advance, he writes it down in his diary and is like, “Yeah, sweet.”

Would you ever want skateboarding to be your job?
That’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it? But I’m not delusional; I’m just having fun and whatever comes along, comes along. I’m just happy to be getting free shit, getting to skate every weekend and most arvos and to go on trips with my friends. I suppose if you turned it into a job, it might suck.

So the photos for the interview are done. Are you happy with how they came out?
Yeah, I’m psyched, aye. I’ve been skating with Wade and he’s a dope dude. He’s a positive person; he just loves his pot, likes having a beer, and there’s not a negative bone in his body, aye.

Are you still not drinking or smoking?
Actually, the other day I had a beer for the first time in 116 days. I think I was just feeling the pressure of the kid coming, I don’t know. I felt on edge, and it was Easter Sunday and I was like, “Fuck it, I’m having a beer.” I ended up having a couple and it was sweet, I loved it. I was pretty bad on the drink; just getting maggot every night after work, falling asleep on the couch. My girlfriend was just like, “You are a piece,” and I was like, “Fair call.” She kicked me out of home over Christmas and I knew I had to pull my head in. So I just took it easy, didn’t drink for 116 days. I ran out of pot the first couple of days into not drinking and decided to do a full body detox. That beer the other day was sweet, but I’m not going to go crazy on it, you know?

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Whopping ollie.

Maybe this is a new era for you, a new era of moderation.
That’s it, aye. I feel it in my skating; it’s so much better when I’m not maggot. I was always just buying a box of beer instead of skating. I’m definitely more motivated to skate now.

The box of beer thing is crazy. Everyone bets boxes of beer on tricks now as if it’s normal.
Dude, there was a stage when I was putting bets on every trick, and when no one landed their trick, I’d just go to the bottle-o and buy a box anyway. Everyone would be psyched, but the filmers and photographers were like, “Fuck, can you stop, dude? We need to get some shit.”

So were all the photos for the interview taken within the 116 days?
Some of them were pre-116 days.

So there were some boxes involved.
There were definitely some boxes involved, aye.

Were any of the tricks particularly hard to get?
The half Cab heel on that five-to-road. I just got robbed on it. I went there five or six times. One day I went there and I landed it, but rolled out real sketchy and Wade was more excited than me. He started pouring beer on me and I was sober at the time. I was like, “I don’t like it! I want to do it again!” I did do it again, but it was funny; he was so hyped.

John Green was telling me you have a bit of a love/hate relationship with hucking yourself down big stuff.
I definitely go through stages. I’d always say to John, “Nah, I’m over hucking, aye. My back’s sore, I’ve always got a heel bruise, my feet are fucked – I’m off it.” Then the next weekend we’d be out skating and I’d be jumping off a roof or something.

You look pretty comfortable on big stuff. There aren’t many people who can do that and look comfortable.
It’s what I did when I was a kid. I’d always do big ollies or jump off something big; it’s what I liked doing.

Well, it’s definitely impressive. It must feel good.
It feels good rolling away, that’s for sure. It doesn’t feel good when you wake up the next morning and you can’t walk [laughs]! It’s all worth it.

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Quick feet on an ollie up to feeble grind.

What’s the Brisbane scene like these days? Parliament seems like a pretty cool 100 per cent skate shop; that’s a good sign of a healthy scene. 
It’s dope; the scene up here is sick. We’ve got The Hype Squad – they’re sort of like the younger generation coming up – and then you’ve got all these younger Paddo grommie kids that are ripping; then you’ve got the New Farm boys. The Surf Club is the best place to go on a Saturday. It’s this park in New Farm; you pretty much just go down there and drink beer, smoke bangers and skate this little slappy ledge. Some of the boys bring down ledges and kicker ramps and shit. Jon Lorcan is the fuckin’ go-to man down there. He gets maggot and does what everyone tells him to do. He’s like a stuntman, he’s so sick.

You ride for Element now, right?
Yeah. I was riding for Holiday but we parted ways. Me and Ben [O’Neil] are still friends, he’s a part-owner of Parliament and whatnot, but I just felt like doing something different. I got offered Element by Leigh Bolton, and all my mates ride for them. It’s like one big happy family.

It seems like a pretty good fit for you.
There’s a whole heap of Queenslanders on the team, though some of them live in Melbourne, then there’s the Sydney boys. But we’re all mates; it feels good to be on a team that feels like a home,
you know? Everyone gets along and there’s no beef, bickering or bullshit.

And what about HUF, how did that come about? 
It was last year. I was in Melbourne and I got an Insta message from Sammy [Winter] saying, “Yo! Putting together a HUF team. You want to get on?” and I was like, “Fucking oath!” I’ve always thought of HUF as that sponsor you could never get on because it’s just so sick. So then Al Wilson hit me up and was like, “Sammy’s vouched for you, so you’re on.” Then we went to Sydney, got some footage and had a rad trip. We should do another one, Al! [laughs]. Put that in!

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Kicker assisted frontside tailslide.

I definitely will. Another thing I’ve heard about you is you’re always on a quest for the perfect pair of pants.
Dude, that’s so true, but I don’t know any skater who’s not looking for the perfect pair of pants. There’s definitely a good couple of HUF pairs sitting in the cupboard, and Element make really good pants, too. I rock Dickies as well.

What makes a good pair?
They have to be loose fit; not tight and not like OG baggy, just loose, a nice bit of bag. Then you either cut them off or hem them up so they’re not so fucking low to the ground and you see a little bit of sock, you know?

Just a little bit of sock, though.
My girlfriend loves it, aye. She’s like, “Cut ’em higher!” and I’m like, “Fuckin’ hell, they look like fuckin’ short longs or long shorts, aye! Shit!”

It’s all about the fabric, too, huh.
It’s about everything. You don’t want something too stiff and you don’t want anything that’s too thin either, that feels like a fucking pyjama bottom. I’m real picky about my pants.

Do you wear the same pants to work?
Nah, I wear work shorts. The old King Gees, mate.

Couldn’t you skate in them?
I don’t skate in shorts, aye. I feel like there’s only a couple of people in the world who can do that, and I’m definitely not one of them.

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Backside 50-50 gap over.

Ah, you’re self-conscious.
Nah, not self-conscious, I’ve got chicken legs and I don’t want to frighten the world.

But in work hours it’s OK?
Work hours is fine. I mean, I don’t mind wearing shorts; I just don’t like skating in them. I think it looks shit in footage.

You know what I think is to blame? The fisheye lens. All you see is your feet and your legs; it just looks weird.
For sure, but you’ve got to have a good set of pins, and I just don’t have ’em, aye. It looks like a chicken on a skateboard [laughs]!

I actually remember a quote from Keith Hufnagel, and he was talking about coming to Australia. He was like, “The first thing I do when I get off the plane is put on my shorts.” He didn’t understand why Australian skaters wear pants at all.
Fair call. He’s a legend, so he can say what he wants.

And he has great legs.
For sure.

OK, what else do I have here? Trent Riley wanted me to ask you about your dream to become the next tradie who makes it big in the pop charts.
[Laughs] The boys had this vision for me. I love singing and whistling at work and whatnot, and you know how there’s always that one dude on Australian Idol who’s a tradie and the boys told him to go on there and give it a go? Then you’re like, “Fuck, he can actually sing!” We had the idea that I should go on there and be the next dude who wins it. I’m going to be that local tradie – mid-30s, got a kid – not chasing a dream, just trying to sing a song, you know?

You’d win Australia’s heart. You should seriously do it.
I’d win something, aye.

There’s the skateboarding thing as well; you tick all the boxes.
They’d have to give it to me.

And if you wore those short pants as well...
[Laughs] I might cut a really nice short pair for the auditions.

Well, that just about covers it. Is there anyone you want to thank?
I think thanks are pretty overrated, but thanks to everyone who likes me, because I like you guys.

And to all the people who don’t like you?
Ah, I don’t give a fuck [laughs].