How do i get sponsored as a professional athlete?
I would recommend starting a website/social media presence for yourself as a skateboarder so you can start to build a platform that will get noticed by the industry. You'll need to maintain the website with fresh content (ex. re-caps of recent venues you have skated at, tips for those just starting out, etc) and engage with skateboarding brands on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You can also connect with professionals to get their advice (a great idea is to find pros who you can interview your website - a great way to build content and make connections!).
Lots of good advice here already - my first advice would be to skate your butt off. Push the envelope - try new tricks in new spots, shoot from creative angles, and go big.
The skateboarding industry is more about selling an image and lifestyle, and less about the contests and competition focus, so it makes sense to put effort into building your personal brand and social media presence. the more views you get of your pics and vids the better, which again puts a focus on having solid footage with entertainment value. These days you don't need a big budget for decent video - a GoPro camera to film yourself and friends is a good start, they're cheap and take a beating..
Also, don't ignore the importance of networking - your local skate shop is a good place to start. Get to know the workers and owners, the crews of skaters that frequent the shop and hit local spots with them. If it's a well established shop often they sponsor some locals and flow them merchandise to get the shop name out, so if you've got the skills they will take notice. Even if not a full sponsorship, if you're loyal often times the shop will start to give you discounts and hook you up.
Lastly, keep in mind the bigger career picture. Most pro skaters don't have super long careers - it's a high impact sport and it beats you up over time. Not to mention it's very difficult sport and not easy to set yourself apart. What do you want to do after a skating career? Something in the skate industry, or do you have other passions? Focus on getting into the best college you can that also has a decent skate scene or proximity to skate spots and parks. At the end of the day, don't focus too hard on the sponsorship angle - just have fun and push yourself and good things will follow.
There are many ways to get noticed and sponsored, especially now with the internet as a resource. There are many people trying to get sponsored so it is something that you will need to work hard for and stay persistent with, even when it seems hopeless, but it is possible through hard work and dedication. With that being said some things to think about on your journey are: What can you do to set yourself apart from everyone else trying to do the same thing you are. Sponsors look for people that can bring them more business, in order to do that you need to be influential already, which can be a difficult task without any exposure. Now if you have a large social network with many followers this could be good leverage for you, depending on the amount of activity you receive. People like to be entertained, so think of a way to make your skate boarding videos more entertaining, get creative, have fun, and add some production value to it. Try and find people that are as passionate about videos as you are in skate boarding. Build a team of people that believe in what you are doing and are willing to put in as much effort as you are in this. If you don't have this available to you just yet, maybe you can do some of this stuff yourself, but just be aware that this could potentially pull time away from skating which can be an issue if you really want to take it to the next level. The main thing would be to create a product that will inspire people to watch. This will be a great place to start. Now that you have your product put it out for the world to see. Deliver it to skateboarding blogs and websites. Try and be a part of as many competitions, and events as you can. Be in the "scene" make connections and create a network, because a lot of times it helps to know people that are already sponsored, or work for sponsors that are at these events and competitions. You can even try to get a job with some of the sponsors there. These events are also good stages for your videos, film as much as possible. Pass out stickers with the link to your videos this is a good way to promote your site. If you can create a "buzz" for yourself you will have a much better chance of people contacting you for sponsorship. Also a lot of local skate shops are willing to work with up and coming skaters that show potential. So again if you can give them something that shows your potential this could be a good way to get your foot in the door. But above all else STAY POSITIVE, AND ALWAYS WORK TOWARDS YOUR DREAMS!