How to Increase your Sponsorship Deals

Increasing your sponsorship deals is an important part of being a professional kitesurfer, or any pro athlete.

Jessica Winkler - Epic Kites - PKRA Playa del Carmen

Since many kiters are aspiring to be pro kitesurfers, and based on the response to an article I wrote last year “How to Get Sponsored”, I thought I would do a follow up article on becoming a sponsored rider. I feel it’s important to show the progress I’ve made since creating my profile on Their platform for sponsorship was instrumental in me gaining confidence in pursuing kiteboarding as a career.

When I first started I had no idea how the business of sport worked, besides competing of course. I first heard about when a representative from Monster Energy drink told me to register on the site, and when a sponsorship opportunity opened up I could apply. Upon creating my profile I discovered many great opportunities for sponsorship with companies like GoPro, Fuel Clothing, Skull Candy, Dakine and more. I began to learn what companies were looking for in athletes and what I needed to work on. I ended up getting 8 different sponsorships in my first year. I began to promote myself within the industry using my sponsor’s brands to gain recognition.

Jessica Winkler - Epic Kites - PKRA Mexico

Jessica Winkler (Epic Kites) | PKRA Mexico

The first media connection I made was with inMotion kitesurfing. Brendon provided a platform for me to gain the exposure and credibility required to attract bigger sponsorships and interest from the industry. He published articles I wrote, and promoted them tirelessly. Fortunately these articles were well received by the public and lead us to create the Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer competition (MIGK). The MIGK is an online competition intended to showcase female kiteboarder’s talents in our sport, as well as their commitment to the industry. The success from our first year was outstanding, so we intend running this competition on a yearly basis.

I realized people started believing in me when I began to believe in myself. This in turn made me spend more time on the water, really pushing myself to do more complicated tricks. Eventually when I could afford it, I hired a photographer to take good quality photos so I had something to present when applying for better sponsorship deals. In addition I set up fan pages on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and my own website At first it feels egotistical to do all this, but it’s important in order to establish your professionalism as an athlete. Once you see yourself as a professional, others will start to see you as one as well.

PKRA Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Jessica Winkler (Epic Kites)

Here is a list of steps you can take to become a pro kitesurfer, or to increase the value of your sponsorships.

5 Steps to Becoming a Sponsored Kitesurfer

#1 Register on Hookit

Register on Hookit and keep your profile up to date. Post all your sessions, photos and competition results (if you compete)

#2 Promote Yourself

Set up fan pages on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, My Space and any other sites you frequent.

#3 Post, post, post….

Content is very important, and helps get you the exposure required to attract quality sponsorships. Let people see what you are doing to pursue your career. Write interesting, unique articles and try and get them published on kitesurfing websites like inMotion Kitesurfing, or start your own blog.

#4 Train

Get in the water and push your boundaries as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to take a course or hire a private instructor to help you get to the next level.

#5 Fun

Always have fun and enjoy the ride!!

One year after embarking on this journey, I received the biggest sponsorship offer of my life, Epic Kites. Getting the opportunity to ride professionally for a big name kite company actually brought a tear to my eye. I felt completely overwhelmed with joy and a sense of accomplishment.

Jessica Winkler - Epic Kites - PKRA

Jessica Winkler (Epic Kites) | PKRA Playa del Carmen

After the announcement of me joining the team, amazing opportunities keep presenting themselves. A local Mexican airline magazine contacted me for an interview, as they are writing an article about kitesurfing for their in flight magazine. In the July/August edition I will be featured representing the sport within the Yucatan. It’s a pretty big honor for me, and I’m very thankful. The second big thing is I was head hunted by an extreme sports agency, Viral Technologies, who wanted to represent me. They will now take care of all my future sponsorship and media deals giving me more time to concentrate on running my kite school and training for competitions.

Since the Epic sponsorship, I’ve been going through a lot of different emotions. The world changes a bit when you are looked at as a Pro all of a sudden. You realize you need to walk the walk. You’ve spent so much time and effort marketing yourself to get to this point and now it’s time to live it. It’s an interesting shift. The biggest thing I’ve learned on this journey is you have to believe in yourself. You can do it, but it takes hard work and patience.

Written by

Jessica Winkler

Jessica will be participating in the PKRA women’s freestyle and downwind competition on May 18th in Bucerias, Mexico. She also recently competed in the PKRA freestyle exhibition and big air comp in Playa del Carmen in the men’s category, as there wasn’t one for woman yet.


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  1. Its a pity to see training being positioned #4 only
    Training, results, local action should be on top! Before the image and what one looks like!

    • Thank you for your comment Aaron. It’s not to say that training and results aren’t important but the article is ment to encourage people. There is more then one way to achieve success and everyone has their own path in getting there. I had to market myself first, set up a business & then train to compete, this worked for me. If you, Aaron have achieved success by competing then that is wonderful & congratulations but not everyone has the opportunity to do that. I hope that by sharing my path to success will inspire others to follow theirs :)

  2. May i ask you how much to expect from a first time kite brand contract ?

    • Normally a first time sponsorship deal is called a “team rider” and you are offered special pricing on equipment

      • Hey Jessica, thanks for the feedback, and what s the best it can get for guys like TomCourt and Lenten for example?
        So if a new brand offers free equipement and 2 trips a year to shoot some videos would be very interesting?

        • I can’t say how much they make but they are offered a yearly salary, photo budget, travel budget and a budget for equipment which they can sell at the end of each year. If you were offered free equipment and two trips a year this is a very good deal and i would take it.

          • When you say you would take the the deal, you mean if it was your first contract, i guess with your experience you have a much better deals…

  3. Jessica Winkler says:

    No that is one of the best deals in the industry and you are very lucky you must have worked hard for it and be and exceptional rider!! Good for you :) Congrats