It is tough to build a career in extreme sports such as skating, skiing, snowboarding, or BMX. While a great sponsorship can help you rack up freebies and see the world, the actual money that you earn might be meager. Due to the high level of competition for sponsorships, extreme athletes typically have to put in long hours for low pay. Of course, the chance to do your thing as a paid pursuit remains a dream for many. So, here are some tips from Gnars on how you can score funding for an action-packed career.
Tips for scoring funding
Get good at what you do
If you want to pursue extreme sports for a career, you have to be good enough to at least warrant a second glance. The first step to getting attention from brands is to have exceptional abilities. Remember that companies want you to promote their products. Therefore, they are not going to sponsor someone who cannot impress their target audience.
Become an advocate
Another part of scoring a sponsorship is to hone your marketing skills. This does not mean that you dress fly and act like a cool guy. What it means is that you have to have a compelling motivation behind your actions and be able to tell a story. Extreme sports are all about community. How will you represent and contribute to your community with a sponsorship?
Work on your media skills
Talent spotters cannot be in every sports park at once. Having some basic media skills will increase your chances of getting discovered. Create high-quality riding clips, post them on social media, and work on building your profile. Choose your favorite gear and practice talking about them in your videos. This will help brands you approach to see your marketing value.
Socialize, socialize, socialize
Did we already mention that extreme sports are about community? Whether you join skate parties, fundraising competitions, or online events, get out there and make connections. Talk to other aspiring athletes, team managers, and sports fans, and share your passion for your craft. One of these people may help you connect with a sponsorship decision-maker.
What was that about Gnars?
Gnars is a revolutionary new way to fund extreme athletes. Sports such as skating and BMX have always been viewed as rebellious and on the periphery. This may mean that you may get clucked at by the old fella next door but it also allows for players in the extreme sports arena to build creative new ecosystems that are out of the norm.
Cut scene to the web3 world. Let us look at Nouns DAO, an infinite art project where one Noun is auctioned off each day. Owners of Nouns are granted a lifetime membership into a community-governing body and given one vote per Noun owned. These votes are used to decide how to use the growing treasury from NFT sales to fund community initiatives.
Gnars DAO is a project of Nouns DAO. Gami, the founder of Gnars DAO explains that “we prefer a world where kids aren’t shilled energy drinks by their heroes. So as a community of action sports enthusiasts, we’ve formed a DAO to rethink how extreme sports people get sponsored.” Although some of us survive on energy drinks, we have to admit that he does have a valid point.
Anyway, what this means for extreme athletes is that there is a new avenue of sourcing funds to improve their impact and scope of experience. It costs nothing for artists or athletes to join the Gnars community. As a lifetime member of the inclusive community, you can apply for travel grants or funding for your sport-related creative projects.
To date, Gnars members have voted on a variety of project proposals. One projected donated 2.5ETH to the Ugandan Skateboarding Association. This sum funded the purchase of boards, local production of merchandise, and media campaigns to pave the way for a Gnars DAO streetwear shoe launch that would donate shoes to skateboarders in Africa.
Athletes can also submit requests for personal sponsorship. Skaters and surfers from Rio de Janeiro to New York are welcome to send in their grant and sponsorship applications. For instance, skater Ashanti Maurice received a grant from Gnars DAO which enabled him to attend the Vans US Open surf/skate contest in Southern California this August.
The best thing about Gnars (aside from the name) is that it is built on a community of like-minded extreme sports enthusiasts. There is no need to justify the validity of your sport or tone down your image to make corporate marketers feel better. You can go ahead and be your gnarliest, grungiest, wildest, and most authentic self.
One final tip before you go
Never give up. Many famous extreme athletes would not be here today if they gave up after their first sprained ankle. A couple of emails and sponsorship applications are nothing compared to a dislocated shoulder, right? Brands are constantly searching for promising athletes to sponsor. Keep riding and you will connect with the right people.
Gnars DAO is reinventing the extreme sports sponsorship ecosystem. Check out it and join the growing community. If you have something unique to propose that will inspire and empower your community, send in your application for a Gnars DAO grant—and you may just get it.