Wakeboard Sponsorship

Want a wakeboard sponsorship? Here's what you need to know in 2019.

Every month, wakeboard sponsorship requests hit our inbox. With social media playing such a huge role in wakeboard sponsorship these days, we wanted to share 5 keys to help you make the most of your hunt for wakeboard sponsorship in 2019.

1. You don't need a big bag of tricks. Work on making your trick look good.

It could be as simple as grabbing a trick in an unexpected way. Maybe focusing on only a handful of tricks to make each stand out with your own style. Like Shredtown, find ways to ride off the beaten path and ride with your own style. Spend time thinking about subtle differences in riding styles that can make you stand out amongst your peers. You can do that by studying past rider's video parts. In short, focus on quality and not quantity. Study other great riders and tricks you find stylish. Work on tricks that offer the unexpected before crossing off the next trick on your list like a gym training session.

2. Exposure is important for wakeboard sponsorship, consistency is better.

With today's news becoming 'old' in a matter of hours and social influencers having sway, it's important to build engagement and trust on a consistent schedule. How do you do that? Focus on shorter edits and utilize live streams to connect in a more impactful and organic way. Shorter form content doesn't have to highlight wakeboarding. Shake it up a bit with travels outside of wakeboarding, the gear you use, or even your day to day downtime activities. There's a time and place for higher budget, longer form content. Focus on one thing at a time and increase your engagement. Then build trust around longer term, higher budget projects. 100 engaged followers is better than 10,000 unengaged bot likes on Instagram.

3. Know your value. Exposure isn't everything in wakeboard sponsorship.

This is a big one. Up until a few years ago brands had little data to rely on in order to gauge the value of a wakeboarder. Was winning contests, producing video parts, or photos in magazines the key to a successful sponsorship? Was this even the correct way to gauge a rider's value? Probably not. Nowadays, with magazines struggling and web influencers being all the rage, the marketing landscape has changed. Unfortunately, this has also turned into how many likes a post generates or followers a profile has. Quantity of followers or likes aren't much better than before. However, certain web analytics can help guide you to a more desirable outcome for everyone. Let me give you an example.

Let's say a sponsored rider is endorsing a signature product on a company's website. Using a few snippets of tracking code, the brand and sponsored rider can review the volume of traffic this page receives compared to other pages. They could also see where the traffic is flowing from. They could track site visitors and see if an online purchase was referred by a sponsored rider's network. So, having clearly defined goals using analytics helps with the outcome for both the rider and the sponsoring brand. Success in the relationship doesn't have to be about making sales either. There are a variety of ways to work together outside of sales. So, having a clearly defined goal allows both the rider and the brand to stay in clear communication about expectations and how to best achieve that.

4. Contribute in ways other than wakeboarding

Yes, wakeboarding is a great creative outlet. That's what makes it so fun. However, don't expect to retire off of a wakeboarding career (even make an above average living). Wakeboarding can offer visits to unexpected places, new people, and new skills. Getting to experience adventure at a younger age sets you up for success in the future. The most successful pro riders of the past transitioned their career this way. Wakeboarding became the launch point to explore new creative outlets, launch new brands, or work for another brand.  Thankfully, we're seeing this more regularly now. Pro riders can control the creative direction and highlight their  perspective and love for riding sideways. Pro riders becoming accomplished photographers, videographers, even brands in their own right. Creativity outside of wakeboarding is just as important as creativity in your riding. 

5. Produce your own content and partner with brands outside of wakeboarding.

Publishers need stylish pro riders in order to showcase how fun wakeboarding, wakeskating and wakesurfing is. Spreading good vibes. Selling more of what the brands are pushing (yea capitalism).  This is an essential part of any industry. In order for publishers to support riders and accomplish this, they often need the financial support from larger sponsoring brands with cool, stylish riders. These brands ultimately provide the money to back the marketing projects of the publishers. Riders are essential parts in this process. With the right technology in place, it's easier than ever to produce insightful and valuable content, build your audience, and eventually produce a financial return for yourself and the sponsoring brand. Remember, when you've built a sizable, engaged audience the rider holds the power for content production. So as I listed above, focus on cool, stylish tricks while establishing transparency and trust with your crew. With all the resources available today, there is no clear distinction between producer/publisher and sponsored rider when it comes to content production.

So how do you find the right brand to make a living in wakeboarding? One possible angle is to look for sponsoring brands outside of wakeboarding that have a product that might be complimentary to wakeboarding or the larger water sports market. Think about how can you partner to promote each other in an organic way. A great example of this is Mitch Bergsma. Mitch has hundreds of thousands of followers and lives a crazy fun life cause he was willing to venture outside of wakeboarding, but still make wakeboarding a key part of his content plan. If you're wondering how you can get started some of what I've outlined above, create a profile on our website. Navigate to your Share & Shred affiliate area and grab your referral code. Here's where you can find the referral code:

wakeboard sponsorship referral URL

Share with any of your followers on your Instagram, Facebook, website, or any other social site. You can track a bunch of analytics from within your profile or other tracking software like Bit.ly. Humanoid will pay you a 20% commission on any sale that occurs through our website. All the buyer has to do is click on your referral URL and make a purchase. More details of the program can be found here.

Wakeboard Sponsorship


Pinewood Club Wakeboarding

Using Creative Brand Collabs To Grow Your Business [Finding Inspiration In Street Art]

Social channels for discovering new brand partnerships, street art and design.

In a world of instant connectivity, finding the inspiration to create your next great product or brand has never been easier. We use Pinterest, Instagram, Dribbble, Behance, Artsy, and Ello as powerful social channels to inspire our designs. We browse and curate street art and contemporary art through these emerging graphic design focused social apps.

Before all these great online resources existed however, it wasn’t as easy connecting to the web. Designers and product managers would visit other related industry trade shows. If you’re just getting started with your first brand, building a new product, or sourcing new customers, we recommend this route. In fact, we still adhere to the same principals of attending trade shows early on in a new project’s development. In fact, Steve Jobs got the inspiration to create the first Mac and start Apple through a trade show [start with SIA & Outdoor Retailer, for the outdoor industries].

If you’re eager to innovate, sometimes a better place to uncover a new direction is to actually study a completely unrelated industry.

The Graphic design ‘hierarchy’ in board sports

Being curious about the creative aspect of building and designing, we always found our search for creative emerging trends for board graphics tended to trickle down from the skateboard industry.

Being that skateboarding is based in the streets, a skateboarder would befriend a street artist. Eventually, the street artist’s work would make its way to board graphics [if a skateboard company listened to it’s customer base ie. other skateboarders].

After years of observation, we found the design chain hierarchy within ‘action sports’ went something like this:

skateboarding > surfing / snowboarding (BMX) > wakeboarding (moto, snow skiing, etc)

How did skateboarding lead creative partnerships? The combination of skateboarders & artists [street art, music and film]

So how did skateboarding lead the way within the hierarchy of design for board graphics? The most obvious answer is skateboarding was very accessible and had more time to mature than the other activities except for surf. That brought in more participants and a larger, more diverse following.

Naturally too, skateboarding had a connection to the streets. Immediately it was more accessible to a wide range of creative personalities. The cheaper manufacturing cost and more readily available materials allowed for experimentation in production and design. This led to a higher rate at which they could produce new designs and experiment.

The crossover appeal of street art

As skateboarding took off in the 1990s you saw a crossover of gifted street artists & designers also skating. Skateboarders were hanging in social circles with artists of all backgrounds. Skaters were becoming artists. Artists were becoming skaters. NYC & LA was ground zero for this, with skateboarder Jason Lee becoming a prime example of that. Skateboarders were connecting with film makers, contemporary fine artists, street artists, musicians, fashion designers, photographers, you name it.

Recommended Watching: Dogtown & Z-boys, Riding Giants, Abstract: The Art of Design

Skateboarder and illustrator Todd Francis may have summed up working in skateboarding best, “For some folks, it’s a chance to finally work in an industry they’ve followed their whole lives. It’s a chance to create artwork with very few rules or restrictions.”

Then the internet hit.

The explosion of social networks dismantled the design hierarchy above. As the concept of sharing design on the web became ubiquitous, it also increased the speed at which new designs were shared and ‘picked up’ in other industries. While the web certainly made it easier to discover new design trends, it also made it more difficult to uncover and create an entirely new direction.

Recommended Skateboard Books

“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” [incorrectly attributed to Picasso via Steve Jobs]

Find something you like, then make it your own.

So where do we draw our inspiration for our wakeboard graphics? In short, a mishmash of outdoor inspiration, movies, music, street art and fashion (streetwear). We like to provoke a secondary meaning with dichotomy of nature and technology. When you start combining what inspires you, you’ll start to notice a new perspective or interesting direction.

The influence of the internet. The power of combining sport, music, film, fashion, sculpture, and photography.

Over the past 30+ years street artists have gone from art world outcasts to getting coverage in mainstream media.

Their success hinges in large part from street artists & brands finding a common connection in overlapping interests or shared social causes and then elevating each other’s message.

On rare occasion, when done successfully collabs open up new audiences for both the brand and the artist.

Take popular street artist Shepard Fairey as an example. While still quite well known in street circles at the time, Shepard created the iconic ‘Hope’ poster.  He eventually won the official approval of the Obama campaign during his run for the white house.

shepard fairey obama hope poster

Fairey built a small following with his work initially, leveraged a new audience to share his designs & message (however good or bad the press that followed), and the success of his brand Obey Giant soon followed. Balancing the fine line of artist and corporate work is not easy.

The irony of street art and streetwear.

Well known streetwear brand Supreme has developed a cult-like following from launching limited edition artist collabs and partnerships. They’ve been doing it for a long time. Supreme’s new products drop weekly and sell out immediately.

The limited edition street art pieces has even created their own secondary resale markets. Supreme opened the doors to many of the brand x artist collabs now common throughout industries outside of streetwear.

Here’s a look at some of Supreme’s most successful collaborations over the years with artists.

Insights for making a connection: know your audience [brands and artists]

As an artist, designing a product for a product collaboration without a traditional canvas can be tricky.

Sometimes the product a designer must work with is limited by material, awkward forms and shapes, or even color.  Now add to this long hours, heavy competition and low pay and you see why the designer must have a strong connection with the underlying industry he or she is designing for. Fear not, if implemented correctly it can also lead new brand partnerships.

Our recommendation for new artists is to start small by building a portfolio of work for friends. This usually leads to recommendations to other brands. If you’re successful in finding work with another brand, don’t approach a competing brand in the same industry for more work in a short time frame. We find this happens often.

As a brand, we think it’s important to forge a connection and spend time with the artist and find out why the artist style fits with your audience or brand. So in short, have a clear direction of what you’re looking for.

The main point to remember for both artist and brand for commercial collaboration is to keep the outcome in the interests of the audience. In short, the golden rule is know thy audience.

The street art veterans of brand collaborations.

5. Adam Haynes
Adam Haynes was Nike’s go to man for much of their media campaigns and branding. His illustrations are a dreamland of shred-able terrain.

4. Todd Francis
Todd has been creating graphics for skateboards since 1993 among the other “crud” he does. He’s worked with Anti Hero skateboards, Stereo Skateboards, and Real skateboards before being Element’s main man starting in 1999. Todd has a very diverse style and adds humor in his designs, which we appreciate.

3. Christian Hundermark
Runs C100 Purple Haze studio with Clemens Baldermann out of Munich, Germany. They work with an impressive list of clients large and small. Conception, art direction, typography, design and illustration – you name it – they do it. Crisp, clean, thought provoking style. They have a street art book called “The Art of Rebellion“. They’ve got some great notoriety through Rome Snowboards.

2. 123klan
We are long time fans of 123klan. They are a French duo that has a long history of awesome work with apparel brands and street art scene.

1. Steve Cousins
Steve is one of the key members of Jager Di Paola Kemp Design where he has helped Burton Snowboards build every aspect of their image since 1989. This is the man behind the global powerhouse – enough said.

Introducing The Humanoid Creator Collective

The Humanoid Creator Collective produces limited graphic runs showcasing standout artwork from artists in their field. The very first artist is OG sci-fi / fantasy illustrator and painter Frank Frazetta.

humanoid creator collective

From the covers of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ fantastical novels to the harrowing tales of Conan the Barbarian, Frank Frazetta captured the mystery, adventure, and thrill of the sci-fi/fantasy world with his artwork.  Redefining the genre of sword and sorcery, Frazetta painted images that not only brought life to recognizable characters of brazen stories but created a vivid world for us to view them in. Whether battling monsters on far away planets, standing atop a pile of skulls, or rescuing the scantily clad girl of his dreams, Frazetta’s characters tapped into our deepest fantasies.

We wanted to be them.  Those dudes with the swords, the babes, and the beasts.  Savage, sexy, and downright badass. A sled pulled by polar bears. Slicing an anaconda in half before it devours your face. Rescuing all those supernatural women devoid of any clothing.  Frank’s paintings drop us right into the action. This was the fuel that pushed our adrenaline to the max. It was metal before there was metal.

We’re producing a limited run of boards under the Creator Collective with guest artist Frank Frazetta. In a tribute to one of the great artist icons of the 1970’s, we’re unleashing this beast just as Frank would have.  Not only paying homage to a great artist but also to a great sense of adventure, fantasy, and tearing the new world a new one.

Team Meme x Frank Frazetta
humanoid creator collective

From the covers of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ fantastical novels to the harrowing tales of Conan the Barbarian, Frank Frazetta captured the mystery, adventure, and thrill of the sci-fi/fantasy world with his artwork.  Redefining the genre of sword and sorcery, Frazetta painted images that not only brought life to recognizable characters of brazen stories but created a vivid world for us to view them in. Whether battling monsters on far away planets, standing atop a pile of skulls, or rescuing the scantily clad girl of his dreams, Frazetta’s characters tapped into our deepest fantasies.

We wanted to be them.  Those dudes with the swords, the babes, and the beasts.  Savage, sexy, and downright badass. A sled pulled by polar bears. Slicing an anaconda in half before it devours your face. Rescuing all those supernatural women devoid of any clothing.  Frank’s paintings drop us right into the action. This was the fuel that pushed our adrenaline to max. It was metal before there was metal.

We’re producing a limited run of boards under the Creator Collective with guest artist Frank Frazetta. In a tribute to one of the great artist icons of the 1970’s, we’re unleashing this beast just as Frank would have.  Not only paying homage to a great artist but also to a great sense of adventure, fantasy, and tearing the new world a new one.

Team Meme x Frank Frazetta
humanoid creator collective frank frazetta bio

Interested in working with us? Drop us a line. We’re always on the hunt for new brand partnerships and collaborations.


15 Of The Best Wakeboard Tools We Use On The Regular

bp6a7260-cnc

For the upcoming season we are going to be peeling back the curtains a bit more on our company operations. As such, this is going to be a completely new chapter for us but one we are truly excited about. Earlier this summer we shared a small preview of these plans when we released the video of how we build wakeboards. If you've signed up for our email list, expect new programs dropping as soon as next week! To kick things off, we are sharing 15 of the best technology tools & apps we use in wakeboarding.

Technology can be a fantastic tool for saving time. If used correctly, most of the tech resources can and will speed up your wakeboarding learning curve. In the process, you'll be adding more moves to your bag of tricks and hopefully having more fun on the water in the process. That said, if you're not focused and don't have a strategy, technology can also be a complete time suck. After spending our time, energy, and money over the past years finding that out the hard way, we've curated a short list of 17 technologies that we think are the best bang for your buck. Please note, this is only a small portion of the hardware, software, and apps we use. These tools & apps are the easiest to use and implement. After all, spending time in the great outdoors is what wakeboarding is about.

5 Hardware Technologies

Canon 5D Mark 3 - Chris O's got a keen eye for photography if you haven't noticed. This is what he uses. You'll want to take some online classes from Udemy on how to use this rig.

Wanna get started in wakeboarding photography? Here's a quick setup & buyers for DSLRs guide...

  • Types of Camera Lenses that a Photographer should have - How to choose the best lens? Once you have determined in which type of photography you are interested, pay attention to the conditions and situations when you are going to use it. Then, look for the features which are essential for those conditions. And yes, pay close attention to the brand. The mentioned ones here are recommended.

Panasonic GH4 - Trevor Bashir's video camera of choice for all our video edits. Trick it out with a few gimbals from DJI and lenses from B&H

GoPro - Stack footy, edit, and share with friends.

DJI Drones - You might need a co-pilot to bring you through the first couple flights. If you are good at video games then you'll pick it up quickly.

Our Gear - Duh! Go step your game up.

6 Software Technologies

Evernote/Dropbox - Got some riding ideas? take notes, record audio & video, and make lists. Our virtual archive of thoughts and meeting notes.

Wordpress - Share your story online. lightweight, easy to use, and tons of great plugins. A library of great resources to help like WP Curve

Woocommerce - An e-commerce plugin for Wordpress. Have an audience? Set up a store, customize and sell.

Mailchimp - Organize email correspondence with your audience. This service has made great strides recently with its features.

Slack - Drastically cut down email correspondence. Like text messaging with some nifty features.

Adobe Creative Cloud - Pay Adobe a monthly fee and get access to all the creative apps for building things like websites & board graphics. A massive bundle for a small price.

4 Lifestyle Technologies

Bosu Ball - Channel you inner Mr. Miyagi. Good for injury recovery & [re]gaining balance.

Keto Diet - Load up on protein and natural fats, cut off carbs. Feel like a champ.

Gymnastic Bodies - An online fitness course for mobility, strength and flexibility training. Become a ninja.

Headspace - A digital health platform that uses guided meditation to keep the inner peace.

We've tested dozens of 'time saving' technologies to get to this point. So while this list is meant to be concise,  it's no where near complete. Got some cool tech to share? Hit us up, we are easy to reach.