Today’s reader question:
I’m not looking to become a pro snowboarder, but I’ve heard the phrase “It’s all about who you know” when people talk about sponsorship, what does it mean exactly and is it true?
Well firstly, yeah absolutely, it’s very true that it’s very much about who you know. Is it EVERYTHING when it comes to becoming a sponsored pro snowboarder? No, but it’s a huge part of it.
There are many paths to sponsorship, but any pro snowboarder will tell you that a large part of sponsorships is just about knowing and being known by the right people.
What does “It’s all about who you know” mean?
Well at the end of the day when some guy looks to sponsor a snowboarder, you have to be on his/her radar. There are thousands of kids out there looking to be sponsored and you have to somehow be the one that either stands out in some way or is on their radar in some way at the right time.
Whether that may be by just being the mostly ridiculously talented snowboarder ever, or knowing the right people who say you’re a great rider or just being liked by the people with influence and power to get you sponsored.
Here’s a true story:
One of my old riding buddies in Whistler, Charlie, was always aiming to become a pro snowboarder. Every season I’d ride with him and he’d always be making video edits while snowboarding like a madman and pushing his skills every season.
One season he got ‘on the radar’ when Whitelines magazine featured his ‘sponsor me’ video on the front page of their site. One of the people who took notice of that video happened to be the person in charge of getting riders onto the local YES Snowboards team in Europe.
So he called up the higher up YES owners in Whistler, DCP/Romain De Marchi and crew and asked about sponsoring this kid named Charlie.
What happened next? Well they recognized Charlie.
How you ask? Well Charlie rode every day in Whistler, and because a lot of the YES crew rides in Whistler as well, they had both seen him riding around and even bumped into him in the gondola lineup.
Because they were familiar with him and he seemed like a nice guy, they said sure, sponsor him.
Had he not happened to have that small connection to the people in charge, they might have overlooked him and he might not have been sponsored by YES Snowboards that season.
The bottom line
Getting sponsored is just like any other job where connections help a ton. It’s not just about being a good rider because there are thousands of kids that kill it and aren’t sponsored.
That’s why personality and being friendly while putting yourself out there and making connections goes a long way for those guys that are aiming to become pro snowboarders.
So that’s basically what people mean when they say “It’s all about who you know.”
Hope that answers your question.