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7 Jobs In Boardsports You Probably Haven’t Thought Of

There’s a handful of jobs in the boardsports industry that most people would be aware of. CEO. Marketing Manager. Pro Surfer. Shop assistant. But what about the less publicized ones? The little niches that suit certain people and see them loving a dream job that’s part of a lifestyle they’re super passionate about. From little-known but essential roles in surfboard making, to emerging positions in brand content creation, here are 7 jobs in boardsports you probably haven’t thought of…

Jobs in Boardsports

Surfboards

Shaping Machine Operator

Major surfboard shapers get all the limelight but the craft under your feet wouldn’t be possible without someone to run the design through a machine, ensure the blank is cut properly, hand it to someone to finish the rails, plus glass and sand the end product. Back in the day, a shaper would be the one to do everything – cutting fins, laminating everything, even polish and spray. Today, some parts are automated and the rest are done by foam-dust sprinkled surfboard fairies. You might be surprised just how professional (and industrial) the best sled factories in the world are at this process.

Jobs in Boardsports

Athlete Management

Pro Team Manager (aka Pit Boss)

Want to travel from event to event around the world but never quiiiiiite had the skills to make it as a travelling pro? Pro Team Manager might be a gig for you. Depending on the brand, this person might do everything from recruiting surfers, managing their needs, sending out product packs, traveling to events to support them, and more. Bigger brands divvy up this position, including having a ‘Pit Boss’. That’s someone who books their team’s accommodation at events, ensures they’re well fed, and arrive at the beach on time. They even jam a branded cap on their surfers’ heads whenever they win, to ensure they get bang for their logo buck during post-heat interviews and other photo ops. 

Competition

Beach Marshall

If you’ve watched the WSL online, you’re probably all over the fact that ‘surf commentator’ is a job. You’ve also likely hated on the professional judges, who earn a living dropping scores, crushing Italo’s dreams when he really, seriously made that air, but was somehow deemed incomplete. Yet, what about the guys and girls at each event that hand the pro surfers their rash vests before each heat, give them the update about timing, and any other info they might need? These essential crew are called Beach Marshalls. A great foot in the door of being able to work at an event, and potentially work your way into other roles as well. 

Jobs in Boardsports

Marketing

Copywriter

If you wanted to earn a living as a writer previously in boardsports, your only real port of call was working for a magazine. With the advent of websites needing product descriptions, online ad campaigns, social media captions, press releases, EDM newsletters and a whole lot more, there are now full-time jobs for professional copywriters at brands. AI is already starting to erode a few of these jobs, especially when it comes to quickly generated blog posts, but the demand is still out there.

Jobs in Boardsports

Retail

Visual Merchandiser

One job unlikely to be replaced by robots (in the next decade at least) is that of visual merchandiser. These are the guys and girls who design what stores look like and the best way to represent brands visually in physical locations. The top VMs are the ones who create display layouts and more from head office, but some brands also employ people to physically go out to stores to ensure things are looking schmick in person. Some independent retailers will also have someone in charge of this role, often doubling as an experienced sales staff member as well.

Jobs in Boardsports

E-Commerce

e-Comm Specialist

This job is getting more and more complex these days, especially for those looking to manage all of a brand’s digital sales online. They have to work with social media managers to ensure those viral TikTok and Insta posts are driving to the online store. They have to manage ads specialists to make sure Google and Facebook are delivering the right messages to the right people. And, they need to attribute sales to the right provider so they can track their return on investment when it comes to ad spend. Oh, don’t forget newsletter sales too, you know the ones that land in your promotions folder in Gmail? Those. If you know your cookies from your CPC this is likely a job you’d be interested in.

Jobs in Boardsports

Retail

Shop Fitter

Speaking of visual elements in store, you actually need people to build that stuff. Carpenters and cabinet makers are the ones who put it together and create the ‘shop fit’. But, you also need store designers, project managers and visual merchandisers to pull together the brief on what that should look like. These talented individuals even think about foot traffic flow, which items should be put front and centre and which ones should be at the back. They’re also the reason you often have to walk upstairs to look at surfboards. Why? Because surfers are willing to hunt for specialty items, but are unlikely to go the extra mile to hunt out a new t-shirt.

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