Also, another way to get sponsored is to be a visible, positive contributor to the community. I’ll just use myself as an example. I got sponsored by Flatface, Berlinwood, and Blackriver not just for my fingerboarding skill, but also the contributions I made by being a moderator & admin on FFI, founder of FBWeekly (RIP), and by meeting the owners in person.
Don’t feel bad, I’ve been fingerboarding 1999 and it wasn’t until 2017 that I got my first sponsor. I haven’t even fealt comfortable on a team until Witness picked me up, near the end of 2017. This is going to sound super generic but it’s true, just do what you love and what you find to be creative. In time your own style will develop, and who cares if other people like it or not.
Real talk don’t try to get a sponsor, I know this is cliche but if you keep fingerboarding for a sponsor it becomes less fun. Also if a company asks to sponsor you, don’t just say yes because it’s a sponsor. You have to do your research on the company itself, and see if you truly like the boards they make, and if you actually want to represent them.
Life lesson learnt
amazing story I’ll definitely listen to your advice
When I first started Fingerboarding in high school was when Tech Deck first introduced their first decks. I shredded that thing in my classes when I had a free moment. After a few months I had grew tired of the same tricks on this tiny board.
When I decided to get back into finger boarding years later after college, when my son was a toddler and loved techdecks, the whole thing had changed. The decks were a little bit wider and made out of wood, and the trucks were wider as well. Wheels had bearings in them, and it was all about having fun and getting better. I never dedicated enough time to Improve my skills, but I loved that I had a miniaturized wooden skateboard I could mess around with. That visit to Fingerboarding lasted about a year.
Flash forward to two years ago my second son started playing with the techdecks we had. I decided to buy myself a new Fingerboard. I ended up getting a justmeFingerboard with a chad muska graphic. It was the coolest thing, until the clear coat came off and made the paper graphic a dampener and took away the pop it had. I realized then, that I did not like paper graphics. I ended up buying a couple more decks from other companies and some china wheels and some dynamic trucks. It was awesome to be back Fingerboarding again. I was still nowhere near being sponsor skilled because in my mind that took years of practice and dedication to be good enough to represent a company. I eventually wanted to spread the love of Fingerboarding so I bought my nephew a cheap $10 complete from some china company. It wasn’t even sanded on the edges. I realized that I could do better than this and I spent hundreds of dollars trying to prove I could make a good deck. It was a that point I gave up on any idea of ever trying to get good enough to get sponsored.
Now I make my own decks for people to enjoy. I decided to sponsor a handful of people that were decent. Not great, but they had a good attitude and I thought they would eventually hone their skills to match their great attitude. I was very wrong for all of them. Most of them got their free decks and tape and forgot the part where you are supposed to represent the company that is sponsoring you. The rest didn’t try to improve their skills, and were content with the same small skill set. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you aren’t sponsored, but your job as a sponsored rider is to be a billboard for the company you represent so other people will want to go buy that companies products too. They see that the product works for you, and they want it to work for them too.
It seems like the gimme gimme attitude is growing now. There is no will to buy a product and decide if you want to get more for free. It’s just “give me everything for free.” I don’t see that attitude changing. Those people might be in the scene for a little while and then just grow out of it.
When I see the right person using my decks, constantly shouting praises of my product, and they are skilled enough to make kids want to be as good as them… then I will consider taking them on as a sponsored rider.
So keep trying to get better, keep trying to improve your filming techniques, and make yourself visible by posting often with praises of the companies you use. Eventually you will be noticed and considered. If you don’t post often, with fresh content, you might not be a viable candidate.
Thanks for taking the time to read my position on sponsorships. Fingerboard for the love of the art, and you will get love back.
Very good points. Sponsorship is a two-way street, but a lot of fingerboarders treat it as a one-way… Gimme, gimme, gimme! This attitude has been around since the online community began.
I can understand the frustration that comes from this mentality that is pervasive in fingerboarding…
Exactly. For fingerboarding (especially skateboarding too) people start with the intention of making money/fame or getting sponsored right away. In the end they’re not having fun and eventually quit. They want things to be given to them without giving first.
Sorry to hear that you got screwed over. There have been several people I followed for a long time who posted clips every day and always pushed to get better. As soon as they get sponsored they either stop posting, or film their clips using other people’s product. It really upsets me, because I know that there are a thousand kids out there who would kill for that spot.
This is too true
I’ve had too many sponsors to count.
There’s only a select few I’d support currently.
You have to be willing to not only use their product, but also “sell” the brand. If you don’t have a good/any relationship with the people within the company, then it may be hard to actually to sell the brand.
Back in the day, we would all talk more or less (big thanks to FFI and FB.de) so it was a lil more lax with getting sponsors, especially if you were active in the scene and making videos.
I gyess my contribution to this post is, skate for fun and if you have homies that make rad products, support them. Don’t just take a sponsorship just because the opportunity arose.
This may be the wrong thread for something like this but here goes… I am new to the fingerboard scene but not to the “sponsored” scene. I have been sponsored for skateboarding for years but how does the whole sponsorship thing work for fingerboarding? I have noticed on Instagram that several people “ride” for a brand but clearly skate a different board/product in all of their posts. In skateboarding this is a huge no-no and will get you kicked off a team super quick. What goes with this? Is the fingerboarding community more understanding of things like this or are a lot of these people just thirsty and crumb-snatching for whatever company will pick them up whether they like their product or not… I agree what a lot of people said in this thread already though, it should be about the fun. If its not fun, then you are doing this for the wrong reasons…
I understand your point pretty well, I think.
I was sponsored by a company a long time ago now called “WangsterDecks” and they just vanished after a long time and I only every received 1 package after the years I was “apparently” on there for, although I always repped them as I thought it was expected. I wasn’t very good then.
I am now at a point in fingerboarding where I consider myself fairly good, maybe not as inventive as some of these guys on instagram but pretty solid overall, I have won competitions at events here in the UK and can understand your point of seeing other do well if you are at the same or better level.
After being sponsorless for the amount of time I have been now, I can tell you that you have to just not care and not expect anything. Let it happen (if it does). If it’s not happening, ask yourself why. Do I need to be better? Do I need to make more friends in the scene? Is it the way I advertise myself on whatever platform?
9 times out of 10, people that own companies (fingerboard wise I’m talking about) pick up people they have had a good relationship with, met in person, or have bonded with online. Not just someone they don’t know well and they’re just good at fingerboarding.
That’s how I look at it anyway.
You’ll get there, chin up.
It’s not all about being sponsored. It’s about the mates you make doing it.
Hi Elliot. I definitely liked your perspective . on that note, you only have 12 Instagram followers. You are good, but that’s not going to be an effective advertising tool for any company. And yes. It is more fun to just Fingerboard and not be constantly trying to get a sponsor. But if you want one, it will come to you when you have more eyeballs pointed in your direction.
Ok I figured id poke my large noggin back through this door. Over the last month I’ve actually been put into 2 companies teams. 1 is a Flow Team, because I AM NOT PRO. He and i are aware of this, but I’ve been using his products for my entire time fingerboarding and showing love and was rewarded for such. ATX sees potential and that I am here for fun, trying to improve, trying to be creative, and that i show the brand a TON of love.
My second sponsorship is Detroit Decks. The owner of this brand is a good friend of mine. We shred together almost every week. We speak daily, he knows my kid. Again, I AM NOT PRO. However Joe has seen me go from not being able to ollie to now, where i can sort of ollie. I own and use his decks a lot. While my main is not a Detroit Deck, i show tons of love, rep the brand, post clips using the decks and try to help spread the word.
All in all I think if youre active, positive, helpful and overall fun you will eventually be considered for at the very least a Flow team. If you are all of the above listed things, than you won’t mind much not being sponsored anyhow. That’s my current .02
I’m at a point now where I usually get a few dm’s a day from people asking to be sponsored. It’s one of those things which is a little annoying but thinking back to when i started fbing many years ago, I wasn’t much different. I was desperate to get on to teams and I was also willing to film loads and loads to get on them.
That kind of attitude does seem to have changed. I sometimes check out the accounts of people who ask and see 1-2 videos max… If i didn’t simply ignore these requests I’d have a standard response: “How do you think you compare to the rest of the team?”.
Being sponsored myself is no longer something I strive for. And it’s for the reason that others above have stated. I genuinely couldn’t help a company grow anymore. I’d feel like I was ripping someone off getting free product when I can no longer commit the time or practice to showing off a brands wares.
It seems that almost without exception now, the people who are getting the best sponsors are the ones who are posting daily and most of all are ‘hype men’. I wont name names but there’s a good few people on insta now who pop up with daily stories hyping a 5 trick mini theyve got coming the next day! Company owners are generally smart and they know that if a person can hype themselves hard enough, then they can transfer that to their company!
I’ve rambled here but I think the take away point is that if you work hard enough on your fbing and your own online presence you’ll pick up a good sponsor sooner or later.
I’m re-updating again! Lol. So, while I will rep Detroit Decks til the day I day I am NOT on the official team.
Next, Death Scroll Performance Tuning from Los Angeles Fingerboards is a thing now, and I am on the team! The bushings fit beautifully on my BRTs and Dynamics. They’re just the right height and width for both tight or loose setups.
Been testing them pretty heavily for a couple days on my new setup. Outdoor, indoor, wood, concrete, and marble. So far they are squishy and responsive.
Anyway, sponsorship. The proprietor of LA FB is a great guy and we’ve come to be pretty good friends as far as IG/internet friends go. I support his business as often as I can, and he supports my growth and creativity in #fingerboarding, so the sponsorship is a perfect fit. I will add, i am not a PRO level fingerboarder, but I am still always learning and progressing. While having fun, i take the art seriously.
Go checkout my giveaway on IG to celebrate my Death Scroll Sponsorship!!!
I’m an adult and “sponsor” myself. But the kids asking for sponsorship are very naive as to how the entire thing works. As others have pointed out - its all the “what can I get from you?” rather than “What can I do for you?”. I felt like I’m pretty involved in the community. Tons of posts on Reddit and Instagram posting my knowledge. Have over 1k followers on Instagram, but I’ve never been asked to sponsor a business. I don’t expect it either. You have to be willing to support the person, before they will support you.
I’ve honestly loved reading everyone’s sponsorship/sponsorless stories so far. It’s truly inspiring to see how far each person has come, even if it doesn’t lead to sponsorship.
I’ll share my own story.
I started fingerboarding around 2000 on a plastic board, and got other Tech Deck stuff afterwards. At first, I was just doing shove its, pressure flips and ridiculous impossible scoops into the air and trying to land it. Soon, I found the Tech Deck site, with its videos, forums and links to great DIY sites like Moshmelloz. I picked up most regular flip tricks easily and was able to do combos.
In the early FFI days, this forum was like a prestigious place that you could not just join. You needed to sign up during the limited open registration periods, or have an invite from an admin. Everyone on the Tech Deck forum posted about how they wish they were on FFI. It seemed like a place for all the serious and pro fingerboarders, but completely closed to everyone else (I was pretty glad when it became open). With just the TD forum and YT, it was harder to engage with the main community, and pretty much impossible to become sponsored.
Despite feeling like I had some skill and a burning passion for fingerboarding, I couldn’t get into FFI for a long time. I even tried emailing the admin a couple of times. Regardless, I still loved fingerboarding. I picked up a Berlinwood deck, Riptape, Riptape bushings, Substance wheels and Arctic axles, and I was loving it - but felt mostly alone.
By the FFI did open again, I joined. By this time, I had gone away to university and did not have my home computer to process any video, so there was no way to share anything, apart from a few text posts. But I still felt like an outsider. My account was deleted (possibly because of inactivity), and then I joined again, but still wasn’t able to engage here. I suppose I had already realised I loved fingerboarding and sponsorship didn’t matter. I just wanted to make some friends who liked it too.
A few years later in 2011, this all changed. I found a post about a UK fingerboard event happening in 2 weeks from when I found the post. I was also directed to another fingerboard forum, with slightly more UK fingerboarders. I still knew noone at all from fingerboarding but decided to go there anyway. I took along my (now considered old) Berlinwood setup. It was about a 1 hour drive from my hometown. I was nervous so I didn’t sleep much, turned up late, had no idea where the entrance was and came in through the back. But this was the greatest thing I experienced in fingerboarding. I was already an adult and I met many more older shredders like myself. I’m not great at making new friends but many of them were very approachable and I was even invited to hang out with them after the event. I didn’t compete in any competitions because I thought there would be no way I could compete against pros, but after watching them I realised I was probably at the same level. I won a deck in the raffle - my first new fingerboard product in years so I was super stoked.
After this whole thing, I kept in touch with everyone on the forum, was super hyped and started posting videos of my stuff. Maybe word got around and I was emailed by Close Up to join their team. It probably also helped that I even had their old discontinued Generation 1 and 2 boards. I have no idea exactly how it happened, but it finally did. They were super generous and sent me so much stuff. I never sold any of my sponsor stuff but I gave many complete setups away to new fingerboarders so that they could have the same excitement I did when I got my first decent board.
I am currently sponsorless. Close Up disbanded their team before I became less active again for an unrelated reason. I also represented Ace Fingerboard tape before the owner became unable to commit the time to running it.
Right now, I think @Scartledge is totally right. People definitely need to be active to get a breakthrough. I can’t commit the time to high level of activity any more so I understand I should not be on any team.
Other great points have been made on here too. You can positively contribute to the community like @cdplaya0 said. I used to make a lot of posts on another fingerboard forum, but also many on here. They included general chat, news and information, constructive criticism, advice and reviews. I was a moderator on that other forum, and also an admin on a short-lived fingerboard site that @cdplaya0 also made.
(Holy crap, I just realised your username is a pun based on your initials CD. How did I not realise this for years?)
Sure, fingerboard sponsorship was a great ride. I suppose it also fulfilled one of the few childhood dreams I had. But, I have also had great feelings of fulfillment from other instances:
When I took part in the 2013 FFI Rail Jam, and took 2nd place, I finally… FINALLY… felt like I belonged in FFI. I lurked in the background unable to take part in all the previous ones. You guys have no idea how long I wanted to feel accepted here, lol.
The other great personal feeling was posting what I thought was a silly video, called “Unrealistic Fingerboarding”, and holy crap. There were positive comments from people I have looked up to all these years.
I feel like sponsorship isn’t everything. How long before someone sponsored me? 11 years lol - and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t that bad after a year. I accepted being able to love fingerboarding without sponsorship, and then it came to me unexpectedly.
Great insight Xi! Your entry to the Railjam was nuts btw…
Dude how haven’t I seen that “Unrealistic Fingerboarding” video! Badass man it’s like watching a finger Rodney Mullen. All brand new stuff from the time right? You need to start naming those tricks! lol