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Old    Justin Roemer (soulrider)      Join Date: Mar 2010       01-22-2012, 10:12 PM Reply   
How do I get sponsored? I have been wakeboarding for 12 years and have only competed in 6 comps last 2 of them in the outlaw division which I took first in both. I have seen people with less skill then me be sponsored and I'm just wondering how they do it and what exactly comes from being sponsored?

I have always been into just free riding on my lake and go to a competition once in a while to see where my skill level is at compared to others. I just recently decided I would like to compete more and try to get some sponsors. Do they pay for your entree fee or give you free gear or what? Like I said I never leave my lake, I don't know how wakeboarding works as far as trying to take it somewhere.
Old    J.B. O'Neill (gnarslayer)      Join Date: Sep 2008       01-22-2012, 10:32 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulrider View Post
How do I get sponsored? I have been wakeboarding for 12 years and have only competed in 6 comps last 2 of them in the outlaw division which I took first in both. I have seen people with less skill then me be sponsored and I'm just wondering how they do it and what exactly comes from being sponsored?

I have always been into just free riding on my lake and go to a competition once in a while to see where my skill level is at compared to others. I just recently decided I would like to compete more and try to get some sponsors. Do they pay for your entree fee or give you free gear or what? Like I said I never leave my lake, I don't know how wakeboarding works as far as trying to take it somewhere.
Get out there, meet new people! boat shows, contests, video premiers, all wakeboard related events are great to be at. be modest. let your riding talk. make videos. find out who your local reps are and introduce yourself. PUSH THE SPORT
Old    Jim Fergus (jfergus7)      Join Date: Jul 2011       01-22-2012, 10:52 PM Reply   
Also get yourself set up on Hookit.com. Create a profile and apply. Don't expect money right away because you won't get it. Typically you will get product discounts but it will give you the ability to list sponsors on your resume down the road.
Old     (TheHebrewHammer)      Join Date: Jun 2011       01-23-2012, 1:37 AM Reply   
Ya, don't expect to meet a sponsor through Hookit, but make a profile so that you'll have something to show potential sponsors. Think of it as a resume or a promotional site.

I'm a long, long way from sponsorship material, but I spend a lot of time asking people this question. What I'm told by my buddies who are sponsored and/or pro riders is:

1. Stack up a good resume. Compete in EVERY STOP of every tour you can get yourself into. Overall tour podiums can mean a lot more than individual contest wins, even if you aren't first. Be versatile. Compete in cable and boat comps, or even kiteboarding and wakeskating. This will make you much more valuable to a potential sponsor. Make videos of yourself and ask people who are more talented videographers than you to make videos of you. Befriend them. Help them, and they'll help you.

2. Develop a relationship with a boardshop, boat dealer, cable park, or any other company that has access to SURF EXPO and industry connections in general. Be a good, loyal customer. Get to know these people personally and invite them to ride with you. Find out who their sponsored riders are and befriend those riders. They'll be your most powerful advocates. Get a job with the company. Talk them up to other riders and bring in customers for them. Tell them you want sponsorship and convince them through your results and your actions that you're worthy of their endorsement. Ideally, they'll be your first sponsor. You probably won't get much from them, but it's a start.

3. When you have really impressive results/videos and your name is starting to be known, it's time to shoot for the big leagues. Write up your resume and go to expo with the aforementioned company. Go booth to booth. If you want sponsorship from an industry giant and you're not good enough to ride on the pro tour and get noticed that way, you're going to have to ASK FOR IT. Have your company people, pro riders you know, or any industry insiders who think highly of you accompany you and vouch for your value as a rider/promoter and your character as a person. Give potential sponsors copies of your resume and links to Hookit or some other website where they can see videos of your riding, contest results, media exposure you've had, etc.

Essentially, it's like interviewing for any other job. The difference is that you have to apply in person, and surf expo is the place to do that. Sponsors don't just care about how skilled you are as a rider. They care how well known and well liked you are. They want other riders to notice you repping their gear and get a good impression of you as a rider and a person. They want young rookies like me to look up at you and say, "Damn, this kid kills it and he's such a good dude. I wanna be just like him."

Or so I'm told...

Last edited by TheHebrewHammer; 01-23-2012 at 1:47 AM.
Old    David (Luker)      Join Date: Feb 2010       01-23-2012, 7:12 AM Reply   
Obviously you have to maintain a certain level of riding to even be considered for sponsorship... but lets be honest, unless you are a 10-15 year old freak... you're not going to get sponsored by just riding in comps or being the best guy on your lake.

Sponsorship is 100% about product sales. Learn who the key players in the industry/target company are... figure out what is the best, most applicable niche in the market that you think you could help them sell product... and act.

Be honest with yourself and know your abilities. Just because you have a mobe or a 7, doesn't mean you deserve to be sponsored.... there are tons of little shredders that can ride... you have to prove that you can push product and that you are a great representation of what the company embodies. Get out there, be personable, talk to everybody you can, if you're talkin to somebody in the industry who is in a position of importance, and they offer a pull... GOOOOO! Get out of your element... put out good edits... good pics... etc...

I agree with most of what HH said, but I'm not on board with the concept of walking up to somebody at Expo and asking for sponsorship. Do your homework and make your connections before hand... if you walk up to somebody working at a booth and start talking about getting sponsored or giving them references to your vids etc... there's a 99% chance they are going to think you're a douche. A sponsor has to like you as a person before they will send you products or cash... and the equivalent of a cold call isn't the best first impression.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       01-23-2012, 8:55 AM Reply   
I'm not a great rider, and I still have sponsors. Riding is important, but in addition to, show people that you can contribute to sales. Meet the reps and shop owners. Support the brands. Offer to work at boat shows, demo days, shop sales and events, and show them you can sell stuff and help the brand grow.
Old     (TheHebrewHammer)      Join Date: Jun 2011       01-23-2012, 9:43 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luker View Post
I agree with most of what HH said, but I'm not on board with the concept of walking up to somebody at Expo and asking for sponsorship. Do your homework and make your connections before hand... if you walk up to somebody working at a booth and start talking about getting sponsored or giving them references to your vids etc... there's a 99% chance they are going to think you're a douche. A sponsor has to like you as a person before they will send you products or cash... and the equivalent of a cold call isn't the best first impression.
Ya, I see what you mean. I imagine the guys I know who did this already knew a lot of the company reps they were talking to.
Old    Small Light (stephan)      Join Date: Nov 2002       01-23-2012, 10:48 AM Reply   
For about 6 years I was hooked up with gear each year and there were three reasons for it, none of which were riding skills.
1. I was active on Wakeworld.
2. When it came time for boat shows I'm a hell of a salesman.
3. I asked the right person.

It's like J-Rod said, be a good person, help out where possible and help the brand grow. Being a good rider does nothing unless you are using your visibility to get people involved in the sport and buying gear. Last piece of advice, learn to sell the hell out of package boards, you will sell them 10 to 1 versus pro decks. Oh and don't talk/act like a retarded gangbanger (that only works for Randall), the people buying the gear (parents) would rather speak to a knowledgeable kid who knows his $#!T.
Old    Mitch (wakemitch)      Join Date: Jun 2005       01-23-2012, 8:30 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulrider View Post
Like I said I never leave my lake
It is not appealing to sponsors if you only ride with your friends and family. Sponsors want riders who meet/ride with tons of new people, teach others, and go to events. This allows the company sponsoring to become more visible to others. Because like others said, you are being sponsored to advertise and sell product. If what you do doesnt sell boards/gear or send the company customers, there is no point for them to sponsor you.

There are a bunch of levels of sponsorship depending on how much you contribute to the company.
-Discounted Gear
-Gear at cost
-Free Product
-Comp Fees
-Photo Incentives
-Pay Check (extremely rare)

Get to know your local shop and start helping them out. They can help you get hooked up with Reps.

Last edited by wakemitch; 01-23-2012 at 8:36 PM. Reason: added more
Old    Mike McMillen (Mike_McMillen)      Join Date: Sep 2011       01-23-2012, 9:05 PM Reply   
I think everyone has valid points here... keep this in mind. You are going to get sponsored based on a variety of the following in no order of importance:

1. You're level of riding is well above that of your peers in your region (sometimes this is doesn't matter as much)
2. You are a well connected opinion leader (you know a large amount of people in the community and industry and they value your opinion and abilities)
3. You are a great sales person (which is usually correlated to being an opion leader as well)
4. You work hard and
5. You're extremely patient (You won't break into the industry overnight).

As you develop relationships and ride with people, as long as you have the right attitude the rest will come. Often regional team riders will make suggestions to their reps or team managers who they think should be added to the team. No offense to anyone's opinions, but resumes won't make or break you, they are always good because when someone asks you what you've accomplished you already know because you took the time to pu it on paper. Keep in mind most companies are at expo to make money not spend money, not that they do not want to meet up and coming riders, but if you have a realtionship with your local reps you won't need to cold call most expo booths. Good Luck!

Last edited by Mike_McMillen; 01-23-2012 at 9:06 PM. Reason: spelling errors
Old    Mitch (wakemitch)      Join Date: Jun 2005       01-23-2012, 9:10 PM Reply   
Everything that Mike McMillen said is spot on!
Old    Adam Silcio (adamsilcio)      Join Date: Oct 2007       01-23-2012, 10:13 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarslayer View Post
Get out there, meet new people! boat shows, contests, video premiers, all wakeboard related events are great to be at. be modest. let your riding talk. make videos. find out who your local reps are and introduce yourself. PUSH THE SPORT
yes be modest. your personality needs to be marketable more than anything... that goes for any sport/job. definitely agree with this
Old    Tyler Smith (smitty1258)      Join Date: Jun 2009       01-29-2012, 7:21 PM Reply   
Justin I sent you a PM, please check
Old    Jason Buffalow (buffalow)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-30-2012, 9:18 AM Reply   
I look at it very simply - What can you do for the company (potential sponsor)? I am a 300 LB guy that has been sponsored since '95. I was always a decent rider (nothing like a pro), but bottom line was I have a tremendous passion for the sport and can sell my tail off. I made sure in the early days to have relationships with every shop I could, be at every sale, boat show or whatever. This was my way to meet the people in the business. In most cases sponsorship came because a mfg. would see me selling their product or heard of things I had done in the sport. I also spent a tremendous amount of energy researching every brand and knowing all riders and products. This allowed me to sell anything or meet pros and know who they were. As I became more sponsored, I continue to help other brands or sell another brand even though I was on particular company. This may seem like a conflict, but I am promoter of the sport first and product second. This allowed me to call in favors over the years when I wanted to try other product or help other companies.

I would say as you set up your quest - figure out what you can do for that shop or board company. Are you introducing people to the sport/your products? Are you bringing them to your tournaments to see the sport. Learn the products and offer to help your local shop on your own time. Show them you are serious.

As far as riding is concerned. A minimum would be Outlaw riding level I would guess now. It is much more about selling your image and what you can bring, than if you have 10 inverts. A shop wants a rider that will do fairly well at a tournament, but more importantly will help the shop and drive in business.

Also, is you have local events, volunteer to help. If you are an outlaw rider, help the under divisions. Be a judge, help on the dock, be a safety person. ANYTHING you can do to help grass roots events will get you noticed. Do it because you love it, not because you expect anything.
Old    Justin Harrelson (skiboarder)      Join Date: Oct 2006       01-30-2012, 9:59 AM Reply   
The majority of the "sponsored" would be better off working a little overtime at work and buying a new set-up. Working all week at a boatshow and getting paid with a set of a bindings isn't as much a sponsorship as it is cheap labor.

A sponsored rider, is not just a salesman, but an opinion setter. It may seem backwards, but start with a product you believe in. If you spend your own money on a product and your opinion influences others, it will only be a matter of time before you are approached by a sponsor.

A lot of what has been said above is brand building (going to tournaments/events, shooting videos and being an all-round cool cat). But the key is you must be influential. That is the difference between a sponsored rider and being paid with product.
Old     (yeahhh)      Join Date: Feb 2011       01-31-2012, 5:09 PM Reply   
hire a hitman to take out at lease half of the pointless crew. that will open up a few spots. this sport doesn't have enough money in it to be sponsored for being good, and all the stoned pros are holding onto it for as long as they can.
Old    Benj Trogdon (BenjTrogdon)      Join Date: May 2011       01-31-2012, 5:33 PM Reply   
First off, why do you want to be sponsored?
Old    Justin Roemer (soulrider)      Join Date: Mar 2010       01-06-2013, 10:15 PM Reply   
I guess I feel like being sponsored helps push you to make it on a pro team and become noticed faster?
Old    Dakota (coda281)      Join Date: Jun 2011       01-07-2013, 12:24 AM Reply   
its alive!!!
Old    Eubanks (eubanks01)      Join Date: Jun 2001       01-07-2013, 7:52 AM Reply   
Justin beat me to it. I think it's funny when people just want a "sponsored" status and then spend hours and hours working for free for a brand just to get a wakeboard thrown their way each year. The time isn't work the payoff IMO. Go ride, have fun, make new friends and the sponsorship thing will take care of itself.
Old    Jason (Hooya)      Join Date: Aug 2011       01-07-2013, 9:25 AM Reply   
"First off, why do you want to be sponsored? "

^^^this


and then.....who do you want to be sponsored by.

Then the rest is just creating a strategy reach your goals.
Old    Will (razorjaw)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-07-2013, 1:06 PM Reply   
Sometimes it just comes down to who you know. I know several riders who are sponsored and don't do a great deal more than just hanging around with the right people (and their riding is mostly intermediate). Nice guys, just not who I'd pick as a rep for my brand.
Old     (TheHebrewHammer)      Join Date: Jun 2011       01-07-2013, 1:41 PM Reply   
This thread is ended a year ago. I know it's winter, but let it die.
Old    Will (razorjaw)      Join Date: Jan 2003       01-07-2013, 1:51 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehebrewhammer View Post
this thread is ended a year ago. I know it's winter, but let it die.
never!!!
Old    Jim Shawley (nautiboy614)      Join Date: Dec 2010       01-15-2013, 6:40 AM Reply   
Justin - check your PM
Old    Jeffrey Blanchard (eternalshadow)      Join Date: Nov 2001       01-17-2013, 12:50 PM Reply   
I've been sponsored for a number of years now. I'm still the same mediocre wakeboarder with only a handful of combined inverts and spins that I was when I was sponsored. The thing about it, I didn't actively try to get sponsored.

I was and still am someone that's been very involved in the local community. I've been part of the team organizing and marketing local wakeboard events for what's probably been near 8 years now. I spent the time to become an official, a coach, I served on the provincial board for 2 years, and I became a part of the community. I've had a great relationship with a few people in the industry and through those have met more people. Some of those relationships and the work I've put in for a long time helped to get me a few sponsors.

I don't get paid, I receive discount on product, and have some of my contest entries paid for. I work for all of the entry fee's. You'll find me in the boat or on the shore lending a hand to some aspect of the event. I am expected to represent certain companies/brands/affiliations with a level of professionalism and to continue to do what I do in trying to grow the sport of wakeboarding.

Throughout my years I've met other people who like me are in the grand scale of wakeboarding are mediocre riders and who are also sponsored through their involvement. I've met good riders that are sponsored because of their riding and some involvement, and I've met riders that are sponsored because they're near the top of the game. Every one of them is involved in different aspects of the sport. Even the pro's, many go to boat shows, work at schools, are involved with camps and smaller contests, and do other sport related promotions.

If I have one tip to get sponsored, it's a re-iteration of what most people have said. Get out there and get exposed, get involved, and be prepared to work for the things you get.

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