Ashley Brophy from Hudsons Circus performs on a high wire above the main circus tent.
Ashley Brophy from Hudsons Circus performs on a high wire above the main circus tent. Nolan Verhiej-Full

Tightrope walker stuns Tweed crowd

IN a death defying stunt, tightrope walker Ashley Brophy braved the afternoon breeze yesterday at Jack Evans Boat Harbour to conquer a 10 m long wire, pitched across the roof of Hudsons Circus tent.

The circus performer cruised through the sky walk without the aid of a harness or balance pole.

Brophy is 48 and has been high wire walking since the age of eight, and was trained by his father and his mother, also circus artists.

"When I was a kid I was practicing on a wire only 1m up and my father used to spray me with a hose or a fire extinguisher, or get behind me and kick the wire, just to give me all the different experiences," he said.

He admits that conditions on Thursday were dangerous.

"The pegs are set up on the outside so you can't really pull them in to get the tightness for what I need, so I have three blokes on each side pulling the essential line tight so I can balance on it.

"This one looks like it has a soft landing with the tent, but underneath there is a heavy truss which has all the rigging inside it - you wouldn't want to fall on that, it's like falling on concrete."

Brophy has performed with the Circus Royale and Circus Lilliput in Switzerland, Blackpool Tower Circus in England, Circus Victoria in Sweden.

He won the 1985 Guinness World Book of Records title by sky walking 11.5 km of wire in 3.5 hours.

"I wouldn't say its death defying, I would say it's living life… that's my world up there," Mr Brophy said.

Aiden Chapman, 6, from Banora Point found the pop-up performance in the park exciting.

"I thought he was going to fall off. It was very clever and exciting - I can't wait to go to the circus to see the animals and clowns."

The circus is in town until January 26, and features camels, water buffalo, macaws, horses, a flying trapeze troop and acrobats.

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