VOLUME V - What Does It Take To Get Sponsored
Skateboarding can be a very unique lifestyle for the few who stick with it long enough to get hooked. Some people pick it up naturally and others have to put in a lot more practice to get good. We could write pages and pages of reasons of why skateboarding is the best but our favourite thing about it is that there are no rules. It isn´t a team sport where you have to rely on a group of people to enjoy it and there is no wrong way of doing it! Skateboarding is an art just like music, making it a very different hobby/lifestyle to those who play football, rugby etc....
Team Rider Lukas Skinner Floating a Fs Ollie
For some kids the big dream being a young a skateboarder is to get a sponsor, probably because in their head it means that they have made it in skateboarding but it could also be the desire for cheap/free gear and bragging rights to your mates.
Others simply do it because they enjoy it, without thinking about where it can take them. Again, there is no right or wrong in any of this so bare in mind these are just my thoughts on the matter and if you think differently, so be it!
Hill Bombs With The Boys <3
As a director of a skate brand/ team manager and part owner of a skateboard shop in this day and age I get messages online very frequently, with skateboarders asking questions such as Can I get a free deck? How do I get on your team? so the idea of this blog entry is to put this whole topic in writing to save you the embarrassment of not getting the answer/hook up you were hoping for!
Grom Squad Getting Some Ink For Opening Day
Some skateboarders thrive on competitions, performing their much practiced routines in front of judges and a crowd and others, who aren’t competitive just like to hang out with friends, maybe film some tricks but their goal is simply to have a good time, regardless of what others may think of them.
Those who do competitions regularly and start to do well in them tend to get noticed by brands/shops/others first as they have put themselves out there and can perform well under pressure, all of which are things that a potential sponsor may look for.
Flow Team Rider Joss Bellamy Collecting His Prizes From Our Miniramp Jam
Competitions are great if you want to get noticed and hooked up quickly but the most important thing of all if you are looking to get a sponsor is attitude.
Attitude is SO important in our ¨industry¨ and is frustratingly overlooked by a lot of people on the come up. You could have the best style out of all of your friends, the best tricks and do well in competitions but if your attitude stinks, why would somebody want to help you or have you represent their hard work?
ALWAYS respect your elders. Without the generation of skateboarders that came before you, you wouldn’t have the skateparks and resources that have been handed to you on a silver platter, so respect them! especially the ones who have been doing it since before you were born and still hit up the skatepark as often as you do!
If you start skateboarding because you want to get sponsored, stop. Give your board to somebody who will actually enjoy it and find another hobby because skateboarding isn’t for you.
Twin Ollies Chaz&Haz
TR7 Skate has had a team of skaters since the day we started the brand as I felt that it was one of the most important things, to have a small team of great skateboarders representing our gear and riding our boards, doing publicity for us by going out and skating whilst we are busy working in the shop. Out of the total nine riders that we have sponsored, not one of them asked for so much as a free sticker, let alone to be on the team and this is something that I personally feel shows the type of skater that we are interested in. All of them were hand picked by me, Martina & Harry because of attitude and style (how good they look on a board).
If you are ever fortunate enough to get sponsored, something to bare in mind is that getting sponsored may just be the start for you, keeping your sponsors happy is a whole different ball game, which some aren’t ready for. Your ¨job¨ (and I say the word job very loosely) is to not only keep your sponsors happy, but you must be a great representation of the brand.
A few of our decks!
Skateboarding, at the end of the day, is just a piece of wood with wheels on the bottom, a kids toy which some learn to control in certain ways, so don’t take it so seriously. It is supposed to be fun so if you aren’t enjoying it, you are definitely doing something wrong!
Some of the greatest skateboarders I know never made it further in the industry than a simple shop sponsor and that is, for some, plenty to keep them skateboarding at a reasonable price without having all the pressure that comes from riding for a handful of different companies. I also know some incredible skateboarders that don’t have any type of sponsors at all, and still continue going out skateboarding after years and years of doing it, proving (to me at least) that they are doing it for the same reason as me :- they absolutely love skateboarding.
Wanting to get sponsored is completely normal, nobody likes having to buy gear that they know will definitely need replacing in a few weeks/months even if it is used properly and being sponsored can set you up in some ways for your future but wanting to get sponsored and aiming to get sponsored are two different things.
The main thing that I respond to the DMs that we receive (and I do try to write back to all of them) is this :-
If you truly love skateboarding, don’t worry about wasting time sending out messages to brands looking for hook ups.
Get out, skate as much as you can and keep your head down because if you have what it takes.. the style, the humble and in no way cocky attitude and the consistency when battling for tricks over and over and over again, THESE are the things that sponsors look for, not a 6 word question from a random instagram account expecting free gear..
The best advice I ever got when I was an up and coming skateboarder was ¨shut up and skate¨ which I still believe is the most simple yet effective advice for you youngsters!
Photo: Henry Jones
So sponsors or no sponsors, if you love skateboarding then keep doing it and if you have what it takes then the sponsors will find you, not the other way around!