Six Ways to make it as a freerider. Market Advice with Kevco
No, we’re not asking you to change your style or beliefs. In fact, the more unique you are, the more marketable you may be as a freerider. However, here are some tips to keep you doing what you love full-time, instead of complaining about having to work as a bar back until 4 a.m. every night.
1. Understand, This is a Business.
Unfortunately, gone are the days of kicking back and casually riding in your own environment for a few video and photo shoots a year. Sponsors are paying you out of their marketing budget. And that marketing director has to explain the ROI (Return On Investment) to the CEO. So yes, it’s your job to wakeboard. When you wake up every day, ask yourself “what am I going to do today that will help sell wakeboards,” or boats, clothing, wetsuits – anything you get for free. Visit your local dealer often and go to all boat shows and trade shows. Live the lifestyle and be social at the same time.
2. Be a Social Media Guru.
This could be the greatest tool for any freerider. Even if your numbers aren’t that of Harley Clifford or Bob Soven, know that sponsors love shout outs. Keep it authentic, but be sure to tag brands whenever possible and hopefully they will do the same for you. Engagement is key. Be sure to stay active by commenting and liking others’ posts to get your name out there.
3. Work on Your Diction and Don’t Talk Smack.
This is a fine line. We all love the spirit of freeriders and their uncensored opinions about what looks good and what doesn’t. But save that for just you and your close friends. Let your riding speak for itself and compliment others often on things you like. Don’t be jealous, or at least don’t let it show. Do lots of interviews (it’s good practice) and don’t say the same things all the time. There’s a way to sound loose, but still semi-educated. Learn a new word a day. Write down words and phrases you like when you hear them on TV. Be laid back, but show moments of excitement when you’re making a good point. Smile and be gracious whenever a camera is around.
4. Enter a Contest.
What? Isn’t that a cardinal sin? Maybe. But, we’re not saying you have to tailor your run and make it like everyone else’s. I can speak from experience; a judge loves to see a guy take his time going huge with style. Ride like you would at home. Throw a couple of huge methods and big backside 180’s. So you might not make it out of the first round. Who cares? You made an impact and helped shape the sport into what you want it to look like. And the photographers will definitely turn in shots of you to the media.
5. Start Your Own Event.
Chris O’Shea did it. So can you. It doesn’t have to be your own signature event and it doesn’t even have to be official. Everybody loves fun, laid back get-togethers, so pick a day and make it happen. What’s your ideal day consist of? Be sure to invite the media and make sure they have a good time too.
6. Give Back.
There’s no reason freeriders can’t be just as big of ambassadors as tour riders. The whole point of being a professional rider is to use your talents to grow the sport and sell products. And if you’re actually making money to float behind a luxury sport boat, use your notoriety and influence to make a difference in your community. Take underprivileged kids out to the cable park for a ride day. Offer your services for a free day of lessons. Be sure your motives are genuine. All of these things will get people talking and help your marketability.