Cracking the Skate Sponsorship Code
The professional and amateur skateboarding career is a fiercely competitive scene. There are thousands of skaters who are competing to “be someone” in skateboarding and to achieve the “ultimate” lifestyle – to skateboard and get paid to do it, to hang out with friends and travel the world to the best skate spots, to make enough money to live comfortably — and then some. All while doing what you love to do anyway — ride your skateboard.
If you’re interested in getting sponsored by a skateboard (or related) company, the first thing you need to do is develop your ability. Skateboard companies are smothered daily with sponsorship requests from riders that can hardly ride a board. The best advice? Go skateboarding. Lots. Everyday, all day. Travel to new areas. Conquer new terrain. Collect videos of yourself. When you get to the point where you are pushing the limits of known skateboarding, then it’s time to consider getting sponsored.
But most likely, if you are at the point of pushing limits, you will not have to look very far for a willing sponsor. If you have the skills, people will already be talking about you. The word gets out when there’s someone ripping it up; and news travels fast on the skateboarding network. So, have an idea of what companies you would like to ride for and set your goals on them. There are both good companies and bad companies. Make sure you are selective. You want to go with a company that will properly represent you, with one that feels right.
The “Sponsor Me” Video Most likely, no matter what, you will make a “sponsor me” video to post on your profile to let prospective companies to see your skateboarding abilities even though they are on the other side of the country. You will probably make several of these videos throughout your pre-sponsor phase. That’s okay, because once you get sponsored you will need to make “video parts” for your sponsor’s videos, so that they can promote you to be a big-named pro. A “video part” can make you or break you in skateboarding. Make sure you strive for the best quality of filming, editing, and the skateboarding being filmed. Short and sweet is better than long and boring.
What Are Companies Looking For? Number one, skateboard companies are looking for the best, or someone who may become the best. (Best is a relative term. You could easily put ten of the top pros together and say that they are all the best.) Companies are willing to nurture, develop and promote potential talent. They look for the fire in your eyes, the skills on your board and for a distinctive personality. They want you to represent them, ride their products, sport their gear, and give props to them (meaning, put in a good word for them). They scratch your back, you scratch theirs. It’s a 50/50 deal. It won’t work out if either party fails. What’s helpful is providing them with good background info in your profile — who you are, how long you’ve been skating, where you’re from and where you are going. Also, note any magazine, media, or contest coverage you have received.
Note: Contest results alone are not a good representation of your abilities. Don’t expect the companies to come knocking down your door because you placed well in a contest.
Once you get your foot in the door, opportunities can start rolling faster than you can say, “give me free stuff.” But it doesn’t stop there. Being a sponsored skateboarder requires strength, determination, endurance and creative ingenuity. You need to maintain your credibility and loyalty with your sponsors by continually pushing yourself to new levels.
And that, my friend, is the definition of a true Skateboarder.
Summary of Tips: 1. Skateboard, a lot 2. Collect quality video footage and post it to your profile 3. Skateboard more 4. Contact the right companies 5. Travel and skateboard more 6. Be yourself and enjoy yourself 7. Good things are bound to happen 8. Start collecting those pay checks!
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