How to get sponsored as a Surfer/Skateboarder - Best article on STAB

I’ll be honest, i don’t often read STAB articles. I’ve found them pretty dull and seem to have no point to them. When I look for some fun surf industry articles I’ll head straight to BeachGrit in my white convertible.

But this article grabbed by attention as I half watched, half skipped the latest instagram stories on my phone.

‘The Art of Navigating a Sponsor’ - Just the title get’s my heart pounding. Sponsorship is the thing I dreamed of when I was a grom. Days with friends picturing the sponsor you’d most want to have. I remember my mate Freddie was always being aligned in our minds with the skate company ‘Flip’. Even at 13/14 he could double flip b/s 5050 on the driveway ledge, do frontside double kick flips and every other flip trick out little minds could imagine. For a few of us that dream came true, sponsors came, we had fun, and maybe we parted ways, maybe we stayed friends forever, but we never gave it too much thought. Not many people did. We’re a counter culture non-sport sport, were not doing business deals, that’s too corporate.

Yet we miss the point. To be sponsored, means to get stuff for free..which means the company sponsoring us has to make money, and we’re the one who is mean’t to be helping them make money. We ARE their marketing strategy. We now have a job. Our performance is their performance and so together we dance in the capitalist world, exchanging pirouettes for customers and customers for product.

So how do we navigate this dance in the modern day? Things have changed a lot from our idols of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Contracts don’t come so easy, money isn’t so evenly spread, and we have to do more than just skate or surf.

Have a read of the article here and enjoy the wisdom from the manager of Jordy Smith and Mikey February.

What would be my advice?

  1. Be friendly - nobody likes an asshole

  2. Be yourself - have a personality, a style to yourself

  3. Have something to offer - Be able to offer something to company they don’t currently have

  4. Work hard - If you’re lucky enough to get sponsored, work hard. It’s now your job. Be proud.

Hats off to Dooma for writing one of the best, most useful surf articles I’ve read in a while (I normally look to Sean Doherty for such insight). Please continue to write more.

If you’re considering skating or surfing as a career, a good plan will help you go a long way. For some great thoughts on how to diversify as a professional athlete and make it in the modern day environment, I recommend this podcast episode from ex pro skateboarder Mikey Taylor and Eric Bork.

Hope all of that helps, good luck.