How To Get Sponsored In Surfing

How To Get Sponsored In Surfing

How to Get Sponsored In Surfing

Do you want to get sponsored in surfing? Have you dreamed about slapping those corporate stickers on your board and living the pro lifestyle? Well luckily, today we are going to talk about just that.  How to get sponsored in surfing!

For most surfers, the dream of becoming a pro, slapping a few Quicksilver, Billabong or Rip Curl stickers on your board, jetting off around the world in some far-off location, surfing perfect waves and having a blast seems like an ideal career.

You’ve probably thought “Could I do that?” “Could I get a sponsor, travel the world, surf and get paid for it!?”

That’s the dream right…

So, what does it take to get sponsored these days?

Well, unfortunately, today is a little different to a few years back, before the financial crisis of 2008 really messed with the surf brands cash flow, just as they were becoming mainstream and the money was flowing.

Companies like Quicksilver had a huge roster of pro surfers repping their brand, as well as the talented, young groms with great potential and even half decent surfers, was of epic proportion. After the recession, most companies had massive cuts to their sponsorship teams, a lot of talented pro surfers struggled to find a main sponsor. Even world champion CJ Hobgood faced a challenging last few years on tour barely breaking even and funding himself for the tour.

The glory days of being a sponsored surfer had gone and for good reason.

Why Sponsors will sponsor you?

 If you think of sponsorship as a company’s investment in you, that investment needs to have a return. Giving a surfer discounted gear, free surfboards, clothing and a paycheck all costs money. So how does a sponsor get their money back?

  • Direct sales – Sponsors can help promote the company in the form of direct sales.

Utilising your audience or fans to gain your sponsor new customers, by promoting clothing, boardshorts, surfboards, or wetsuits. This is usually monitored through customers using your discount code (often these discount codes allow for a small percentage of sales made via your discount code, to be paid to you).

  • Advertisement – If you’re a good surfer you will help them advertise their products just by using them and performing well on them in competitions.

Getting video clips helps to advertise their products, so the company can make more sales. But in today’s instantaneous world, if you think competing in a few local events, or even winning, will make a big difference to your sponsor… it probably won’t.

Sponsorship as you once knew it, is a very different game today. If you want to be sponsored, have your boards and wetsuits paid for, you’ll need to seriously rip.

Read through this next paragraph, ask yourself these questions and maybe, just maybe you might get that sponsorship you have always been looking for.

Why do you want to get sponsored?

– Is it just for social status, that you want free stuff, discounted prices, maybe you want a few free surf trips through the year, or want to make surfing your everyday job? Don’t we al

Are you good enough to get sponsored?

– Maybe the easiest one, but a lot of people miss-judge their talents and overestimate their skill level in relation to getting sponsored. If you aren’t the most skilled but have the work ethic and dedication of a champ, they may still consider you as an ambassador.

What can you do for your sponsor?

– It’s great for getting boards, wetsuits, all expenses paid trips and living the sponsored lifestyle, but what makes you worth your sponsor’s investment in you?

 

If you can answer those you are half way there to knowing your answer and what type of sponsorship or ambassador role you could get.

“If you take away anything from this blog, it should be our next set of tips, on how to get a surf sponsor, as we talk about all the things you should do to make a potential sponsor want to have you on their team”.

 

Become a self-promoter.

If you want to be sponsored, a big part of that in today’s world is being a self-promoter or an online personality. Become someone people like to watch, creating interesting content and keeping current. Creating content like videos, pictures, or even just daily vlogging, using social media channels such as; Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to put out your latest edit of surf clips will all help. There’s nothing more important than promoting yourself online and Instagram is a real surf, self-promotion hot spot.   

In surfing Instagram is such a perfect tool to advertise yourself, vlogging via Instagram stories and IGTV can create great engagement with your following because everything is so visual, and surfing is a visual sport. Talking about surfing, posting out your latest shots, interacting with your audience will all help to create a following and your sponsor will love it!

Read through this next paragraph, ask yourself these questions and maybe, just maybe you might get that sponsorship you have always been looking for.

Why do you want to get sponsored?

– Is it just for social status, that you want free stuff, discounted prices, maybe you want a few free surf trips through the year, or want to make surfing your everyday job? Don’t we al

 

Are you good enough to get sponsored?

– Maybe the easiest one, but a lot of people miss-judge their talents and overestimate their skill level in relation to getting sponsored. If you aren’t the most skilled but have the work ethic and dedication of a champ, they may still consider you as an ambassador.

What can you do for your sponsor?

– It’s great for getting boards, wetsuits, all expenses paid trips and living the sponsored lifestyle, but what makes you worth your sponsor’s investment in you?

 

If you can answer those you are half way there to knowing your answer and what type of sponsorship or ambassador role you could get.

“If you take away anything from this blog, it should be our next set of tips, on how to get a surf sponsor, as we talk about all the things you should do to make a potential sponsor want to have you on their team”.

 

Be pro-active.

 If you’re just sitting waiting for some surf company to just turn up to your local beach one day, or ‘spot you’ and say “You rip! Want a sponsorship deal?” You might be waiting a long time.

Be proactive, get out in the world and talk to people who could potentially be your first sponsor. Local shops or smaller local brands are great, as they will be more likely to speak with you about riding with them in return for discounted equipment, or maybe even free equipment.

Start posting out videos and pictures regularly from your sessions, organise to meet up with local photographers or get friends to video you, it all helps that self-promotion. After working hard, building followers and an audience that regularly view what you’re up to on social media or YouTube, start talking to brands about what you can do for them. Tell them how you can help further their brand, advertise them well, or how you can help them sell more products.

A well put together proposal will go down a lot better than just a DM saying, “Will you sponsor me?” Or “If you send me a free stuff, I can post a picture of me using your boards.” Potential sponsors are more likely to take you seriously if you have a realistic proposal, with the intention of trying to work with the company and aren’t just trying to score free products.

Become a social media pro.

 Social media can have its downfalls, but as a surfer looking for potential sponsorships, you need to promote yourself, to help influence other surfers and likeminded people. It’s the perfect way to make a name for yourself and create a large following, who trust your honest opinion.

If you look at the best surfers in the world, they have a large following because of their surfing ability and their personality. Their followers will read, or check what their favourite surfers are up to daily and as a sponsored surfer you can then have your products on show to all your following, which can then translate into more potential sales for your sponsor.

You don’t have to be a top 100, competing, professional surfer to make it in the sponsored world. Lots of sponsored surfers make a living on social media by promoting themselves and their sponsor, which in turn helps keep their lifestyle funded.

Surfers like Craig Anderson, Jamie Obrien and YouTubers like Ben Gravy now make a living from posting out surf clips full-time, because they have found their audience. Posting out clips of daily life, surfing, using their sponsors’ products like; surfboards, wetsuits, boardshorts, wax or even energy drinks, helps create brand awareness and exposure. This extra advertisement can all lead to potential sales and the more sales generated by you, the more likely that brand is going to invest money, time and effort into you.

Make surf videos

Now you might think this is down to others, or someone who can edit, you’re just the surfer…? But having a wide skillset, being a triple threat in content creation, meaning you are the surfer, director, editor and being the distributor gives you a lot of bargaining power with sponsors. You don’t need a super fancy computer or a high-spec camera, but having that skill and using it will greatly improve your chances of getting seen by sponsors and give them more reason to sponsor you.

 I would recommend starting small, using smartphones, free editing apps and learning the basics, after 10 minutes you can pretty much master creating little videos of your weekly surfs. Upload them to Instagram and Facebook, in the story or a post to get you moving in the right direction, once you have a better idea of what works, you may even want to make two different edits, a highlight reel for Instagram and Facebook and one slightly longer more detailed version for YouTube.

Once you have more experience and seriously want to create better quality content, I would recommend getting yourself a decent laptop, camera and some friends or family that can video you from time to time. If you can create interesting content and high-quality footage you are half way there!

If you aren’t a good surfer? Get better.

 Every day we receive emails and messages from people who want to be sponsored, some are just beginners, some of a good skill level and some that don’t even surf but have 20k+ followers and have ‘Influencer’ in their Instagram bio.

A large social following can be beneficial IF it has grown organically and it is genuine, but followers and likes can be bought and that is not going to benefit a brand/sponsor. Thankfully a falsely acquired, large following is pretty easy to spot, if the brand/sponsor looks a little deeper into who the followers actually are, or the type of interaction they receive.

The most important part for us is that you can surf well, or at least have potential and are working seriously hard to improve. Having a tenacious desire to improve and hard-working attitude, can get you further than having all the talent in the world if you are lazy.

What to do now?

 Hopefully, we gave you some useful advice and now you have a few things you can do that might get you talking with a potential sponsor. The more of these you do, the better!

If you’re a surfer who loves making surf clips of themselves shredding, putting out pictures, updates on social media and maybe competing in a competition or 2.Sponsors are going to be way more interested, than if you surf ok, but have no following, audience, videos or even pictures of you surfing.

Remember you might not get the response you want straight away, but if you keep working hard, keep improving your surfing and honing your craft, eventually with enough patience and hard work it will pay off!

If you are interested in learning more about getting sponsored, give us a message below and we can give you more advice on how to get started.

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