Okay, you're connecting your turns, your roundhouse is smooth, and you've punted a few airs. You've done some local contests and come away with the hardware. Maybe you're a bit sick of looking at all that empty space on the top of your board. Maybe you're over paying for your own clothes. Maybe you even think it will help you get some chicks. Whatever your reason, you want to get sponsored. Well then, my unsponsored friend, you've come to the right place. After talking with some of surfing's premiere team managers as well as the sponsor monsters themselves, we've got the goods to get you on your way.
Here are a few tips that will transform your board from au naturale to sticker-smothered significance:
Considering surf companies are on the verge of slapping stickers on babies' bare asses, there has never been a better time to be a grom.
1. Get born right now. Considering surf companies are on the verge of slapping stickers on babies' bare asses, there has never been a better time to be a grom. "If a kid can do a cut back they'll sponsor him,” says NSSA ripper, Oliver Kurtz. “I've seen kids at like seven or eight get sponsored." Youth is powerful weapon in the surf industry. So if you’ve got it flaunt it, and the companies will flock.
2. Utilize the support staff. Bring your girlfriend (OR boyfriend – okay, mom will work too) down to the beach with the video camera and rack some serious time on film. "The best thing for them to do is send in a video portfolio," says O'Neill team manager Micah Pitts. "Video is the best portfolio. It's easy to watch and you can see if the rider has potential."
3. Come legit. Make sure you have a good product before you go advertising your merchandise. "It's better to be the dark horse or underdog and wait until you're surfing better so that you can pick who you want to ride for," advises Pitts. Self-promotion is only acceptable if you have the goods to support it. Roxy Surf Team Manager Torri Alexander concurs, "We don't just hand out stuff; it's a two way street. Show us why we need you."
4. Don't be an ass. "Attitude has cost a lot of riders publicity perks," says Alexander. A good attitude will always take you farther than a good aerial. We all know you have skills, being a punk doesn't get that across any more clearly.
5. Go to school. Nobody wants to give money to an idiot.
6. Pump iron. Do some squats, some biceps curls, maybe go on a vigorous daily rollerblade to build your endurance. "When it's flat, train so that when there's a swell you stand out," Pitts suggests. Playing videogames and watching Fuel won't help your surfing nearly as much as a good, long sweat session.