The first thing your going to have to do, is ride a lot, and push yourself to learn each and every time you ride. One set a day isn’t going to cut it, you’re gonna have to ride 2-3 sets a day to break into the pro level. Competitiveness always serves as a catalyst for progression; find other good riders in your area so you can push each other. Most importantly, while it’s good to be satisfied when you learn a new trick, don’t grow complacent. You’ll have to consistently drive yourself to learn new tricks, it also helps a lot if you find a coach who can help you break through plateaus in your riding.
Ride in as many tournaments as you can, and always keep a humble and positive attitude, even when you don’t ride well. Be polite; thank the event organizers for putting on the tournament, simple things like that will help you stand out in their mind.
Keep it Real
Be careful that you don’t get too caught up in the hype, I’ve seen a lot of wakeboarders who seem to care more about the business of getting a sponsor, than the actual purpose of wakeboarding. While the goal of getting sponsored is a good thing, don’t ever let that goal get in the way of riding for your own enjoyment.
Get in tight with a local pro shop. They have relationships with company reps and have the connections to get you hooked up. Help your local shop by bringing in customers to buy from them, and volunteer at their in house events and at boat shows. If they can see that you’re committed to their shop, they’ll be more than happy to make some phone calls to factory reps about getting you an entry level sponsorship.
If you don’t have a local marina to work with, make a video of your riding to send out to companies. Put your video on U Tube, and build a resume to send out, or post on sponsorhouse.com. Before you send your video out to a company check their website first for information on applying for sponsorship. Research which companies appear to be a good candidate to sponsor you, in most cases it’s good to look at smaller companies for entry level sponsorship.
Remember that this is ultimately a business relationship. While you have to be an excellent rider to get your foot in the door, in most cases your sponsor will ultimately care more about the ways you will drive increased sales to their business, over what tricks you can throw down. You have to be a good salesperson to keep this relationship alive, so keep in close touch with your sponsors on what you’ve been up to, ways your helping improve their sales, how your marketing their company, and ideas for new or improved product for next year. Remember to be courteous, always send them a Thank You letter when they ship you product.