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
I’ve rapidly progressed since I started this thread and I’ve learned how to Nollie/switch heel quite consistently and occasionally land them onto grinds. I’ve also picked up a sponsor called @akdecks who just shipped off my deck a week ago.
@akdecks (you can find him on instagram) is based in the czech republic. I haven’t actually tried their decks yet so I can’t really talk about the shape, but I can definitely tell you that they look superb. I’ll make a review on them as soon as they arrive.