Everyone wants to be “paid” to snowboard, everyone wants to get boards and gear for free, but the truth is not everyone can. As snowboarding has become more prestigious and competitive, so have the sponsorships. Because there are a lot of talented young snowboarders out there, gone are the days when all you have to do is wander into the local snowboard shop and boast your skills to the owner to get a sponsorship. There is an unwritten code of conduct for getting a sponsorship, so follow these tips before sauntering into your local board shop. Skills First of all you have to have skills and talent. Put in the time and effort on the mountain it takes to polish those skills, but make sure you are a well-rounded boarder. Your specialty may be freestyling, but if you can’t freecarve, you aren’t going far. One of the best things you can do to improve is to have your friends film you and watch it to find things you can improve on. Know the Sport Submerge yourself in the snowboarding world. Pro boarders live and breathe snowboarding, so dive in now with these tips: – Watch snowboarding videos – Go to contests, even if you aren’t competing – Know who the pro boarders are – Learn the lingo Snowboarding needs to be more than just a sport or hobby, it needs to be a lifestyle. To make it as a pro, you need to start young and go all the way. Contests Enter some of your local contests; you have to start somewhere. One of the best ways to get noticed is by winning contests. If you are good enough, sometimes a sponsor will come to you and offer you a sponsorship. But realize in the beginning it may just be free gear here and there; it could take a long time before you make real money snowboarding. You may have to invest a lot of your own money traveling to competitions and on gear before you make it. Networking Get to know people at your local shops, resorts, and get to know other riders. Be friendly and outgoing; make sure people know who you are. Soon people will know who you are and then others will get to know who you are by word-of-mouth. Also follow pro boarders and snowboard companies on Facebook and Twitter. Start chatting with them and build a relationship. You never know what connections and opportunities might present themselves online. Portfolio Again, have your friends film you. No one will know how good you are unless you can show them. Not only will you be able to fine-tune your skills by watching yourself, but you will also be building your portfolio. Every sponsor will want to see some footage before making a decision. Get an Education Some of you may not want to hear this, but you will want to make sure you also get an education; a snowboarding career can be over after just one bad fall. Some boarders board and go to school at the same time. Pro boarding can be a great career, but don’t bank on it being your only career.