Being sponsored involved hard work, being nice, and riding well. Got all three? Well you also need some luck. But as professional golfer Gary Player once said: "It's remarkable how the harder you work, the luckier you get."...
From Whitelines Basics 2013
First of all, how good are you? To find out, go to as many competitions as you can, be proactive, talk and meet with photographers and work with them to get shots. Be friendly to parents, younger siblings and graciously accept prizes. Snowboarding is a friendly sport, so being negative and slagging off the event organisations is generally frowned upon. Remember: sponsors want people to represent them, and a good rider who is stoked on snowboarding is more of an asset to a brand that a great rider who is a pain in the arse.
The alternative route is to head out with friends and film some exceptional footage on the snow. The internet is changing the way sponsors look at potential riders. If you can generate a following, or a buzz, then sponsors might come knocking at your door. Just remember – once you’ve made that connection, and a potential sponsor is interested in what you’re doing, you’re at the start of your career, not the end. Your first step on the sponsorship rung might be just a free board or some free clothes. Once you get these represent your sponsors well, try your hardest to get them coverage, and you may one day progress from simple equipment sponsorship to turning pro.
While we can’t guarantee that you’ll get a sponsor, we can categorically say that two things will help you more than anything else. The first is that you’ve got to love going snowboarding. If your interest in snowboarding is just that you want to get free stuff, then you’ll never get sponsored. Loving riding means you don’t care if you get hooked up, you just want to do it. It’s one of life’s paradoxes we know, but there you go.
Secondly: please remember that when you get sponsored you’re entering into a business agreement. A snowboarding company is giving you trainers because it thinks people will look up to you, and that you’ll get into magazines and newspapers and snowboard films wearing its product. You are a walking advert, and like all people in the public eye, you’re going to have to look after your own image. Don’t do stupid stuff, ALWAYS represent the people who’ve invested time and money into you, try and be positive always and remember that younger, impressionable kids might look up to you. Being sponsored means taking on a big responsibility, so think twice whether you want all of that. If you do, then good luck.
Myth: Sponsored riders get a budget for endless travel.
Reality: Most UK pros’ travel budget just about covers doing a season, never mind any travel on top.
Myth: Sponsored riders get unlimited kit.
Reality: You generally get what you're given, not what you've chosen. That means samples, seconds, and stuff your team manager chose because they've 'sold a lot of it' that year.
Myth: You’ll get enormous sums written out on oversized contest cheques.
Reality: You’ll get charged enormous sums written out on small, excess-baggage slips.
Myth: Free sex
Reality: Possibly. But there are easier ways of finding love - there's this new thing called The Internet everyone's raving about.
Myth: Free heliboarding
Reality: Unlikely – and if you do get to go it’ll probably come out of that non-existent travel budget.
Myth: Sponsored riders get to ride bottomless powder all year.
Reality: You’ll have exactly the same conditions to ride in as everyone else, only now when there’s two inches of dust on crust you’ll have to lay down 80-ft 900s into it because it looks good in the shot. Bejesus.