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How Contest Skateboarding Can Launch Your Sponsorship Journey

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Skateboarding contests are more than just a competitive showcase of flip tricks and grinds; they’re a pivotal platform for skateboarders aiming to get noticed and sponsored. As the skateboarding industry evolves, these contests have become a vital part of a skateboarder’s journey towards turning professional. Here’s how leveraging the competitive skateboarding circuit can significantly boost your chances of landing a sponsorship.

How Contests Lead to Sponsorships:

  • Brand Deals – Participating in skateboarding contests is an excellent way to demonstrate your skills directly to brand sponsors, the people who matter most. Consistent high placements and media coverage not only showcase your talent but also prove your marketability and appeal to a broader audience. This visibility is crucial, as companies are always on the lookout for skilled skateboarders who can also serve as brand ambassadors. A prime example is Rayssa Leal, who has secured sponsorships from outside the skateboarding industry, such as Samsung and Banco do Brasil. These brands gain exposure through her contest appearances.
  • Skills and Style – Winning isn’t the only path to sponsorship. Many companies attend these events to scout for new talent and see their products in action. Sometimes, merely participating and displaying a unique style of wearing a brand’s gear can catch the eye of company scouts. For example, brands like Toy Machine and Zero Skateboards favor skateboarders who excel at jumping gaps and grinding handrails, often with a punk/rock vibe. In contrast, DGK looks for skaters who blend urban and hip-hop styles with technical skateboarding. Then we have brands like 5Boro and Hopps that have skateboarders who grew up skating on the East Coast and have a different style when skating obstacles. This diverse sponsorship landscape means there’s a fitting brand for nearly every type of skateboarder.
  • Industry Networking – Contests also serve as a networking hub where you can meet influential figures in the skateboarding industry, such as brand owners, team managers, and professional riders. These connections can be invaluable as you seek sponsorship opportunities. Engaging with these key players can provide insights into what brands are looking for in a skateboarder beyond just talent, such as social media presence and the ability to engage with fans. 
  • Growth and Experience – Beyond exposure and networking, competing in skateboarding contests is a profound learning experience. They allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, adapt your techniques, and gauge your progress against other skilled skateboarders. Brands notice skaters who show resilience and sportsmanship, qualities that are essential for professional growth and alignment with a brand’s image and ethics. Take it one contest at a time. 

Types of Skateboarding Contests

There are several types of skateboarding contests, each offering different opportunities for showcasing talent:

  • Street Contests: Such as the Street League Skateboarding (SLS) and Olympic skateboarding events. Where street obstacles are noticeable in the park where the skaters compete.
  • Vert Contests: Most well-known and highlighted by the X-Games, these contests focus on aerial tricks and transitions. Remember Tony Hawk’s 900?
  • Park Contests: A hybrid of street and bowl skating elements.
  • Bowl Contests: Like the Vans Pool Party, these are held in bowl-shaped arenas, reminiscent of empty swimming pools.
  • Game of Skate: A trick-for-trick challenge akin to the basketball game HORSE, where skaters must match each other’s tricks or receive a penalty letter. The well-known Game of Skate series by The Berrics is where it gained worldwide popularity.

For aspiring skateboarders with dreams of sponsorship, contests are more than just competitions; they’re a platform for growth, exposure, and potential deals. The key lies in maintaining a good attitude, showcasing your unique style, and connecting with the right people. Regardless of the outcome, each contest is a step forward in your skateboarding sponsorship journey, potentially leading to brand opportunities that can launch you into the world of professional skateboarding.