Do you want a career in extreme sports? If you love the action and excitement this industry provides it makes sense to try to be involved on a day to day basis.
From skydiving to scuba diving, climbing to kayaking, wakeboarding to windsurfing, and skiing to skateboarding, there are huge range of exciting options. But how do you get started?
Here are seven great tips to help anyone who wants to work in the extreme sports industry.
The first thing to note about a career in extreme sports is that there are many different routes that you can choose. Whether you are passionate about one specific sport or you have just always loved anything that gets your adrenaline going, there is a career out there to suit you.
Roles in extreme sports can include anything from instructors and marshals to event announcers, photographers and journalists. Plus of course if you are good at a particular sport you could always turn pro.
To get these jobs you need to be involved in the sports as much as possible. After all, it’s rare you find a snowboard journalist or ski photographer who does not shred. If you love to skateboard but are never going to be the next Tony Hawk or David Gonzalez, then photograph and video your mates, it could lead to career.
But you don’t need to be directly involved in the action to get paid in the extreme sports industry. There are roles in marketing, advertising, athlete management, product development, events, accounts, PR and human resources.
Most careers in the non-extreme world have similar roles in action sports, offering a backdoor route into the industry. Although some are more interesting and involved in the action than others! But even if you are in the back office of a surf school, you’ll probably be able to hit the water when the surfs up.
To get into this side of the industry you can either specialise or work your way up. One school of thought says that if you want a specific job in extreme sports you should focus your career around it. Get the necessary training and experience then find a related role within the extreme world.
The other school of thought says that a passion for that sport can take you a long way. So get an entry level role in the extreme industry and work your way up from there. Many companies prefer to promote from within when roles come up so will train you up. This is more prevalent in extreme sports than elsewhere.
It’s well worth doing plenty of background research into the industry. Listen to podcasts about working in extreme sports or pick up books that offer insight into jobs in this sector.
You need to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. This can give you an insight into the kinds of skills that are required to work in the industry, and where it is possible to pick up experience.
Following people in the industry on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram etc also gives some insight. Plus reading relevant blogs can also be a good way to understand what is expected from you in extreme sports careers.
Extreme sports are very seasonal by nature. The majority of those that you can do in the UK are concentrated around the summer. So if you are looking to be employed in this industry, you should be aware that you will need something different to do during the colder months.
Of course there are many different ways to do this. Some individuals working in extreme sports in the UK will go abroad to find work in the winter, perhaps working in ski resorts.
While extreme sports might well be your passion, it does not necessarily mean that you are completely suited to a job in the industry. Enjoying something as a hobby is one thing, but it can be very different things to try to be involved professionally.
For example, if you are considering a role as a climbing instructor, ask yourself whether you have the temperament for the job. You may be naturally gifting in the sport and have the athleticism and strength required to excel. But do you have the patience to train those who don’t have that same strength, or indeed the same passion?
Rather than looking for a job in the extreme sports industry you could instead set up your own business that gives you what you want. Of course building a new business from scratch is hard work, but a career in extreme sports is so much better when you are your own boss.
If you are passionate about a sport look at places where companies are successfully providing access to that activity. Then find somewhere you could do the same where there are currently no activity providers. For example, are there excellent MTB trails in your area but no bike hire, guides or mountain biking tuition available?
Alternatively set up your own website and start blogging – it worked for AWE365! With creative interests such as writing, photography and videography there are many ways to make money online, and be part of the extreme sports world. You just need to find your niche.
It is also important that you should take on a real interest in the activity you are trying to break into. Try out different forms of the extreme sport you are interested in, do it in different places and learn all you can about it.
For example, you might have experienced white water rafting on one specific river multiple times, but never rafted others. If you want to be employed as a guide, or even in the back office sales team, having rafted other places will help you land the role.
So it can be a great idea to try try rafting all over the country to really get a feel for the sport. You will then understand rivers and rafting far more – which is useful in any rafting role. This applies across all forms of extreme sport. The more knowledge and experience you have the more chance of a successful career in extreme sports.
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