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How to become a pro surfer
Around the Academy:

Sam Lamiroy
Sam Lamiroy grew up surfing in Newcastle
Sam Lamiroy is Britain's top male surfer. But unlike most surfers he's not from Cornwall or Devon, he's from Newcastle.

Here he explains his unusual path to the world of professional surfing.

How did you get started?

Sam: No-one told me what to do when I took up surfing at 11 years old. No-one told me how to paddle or where to do it.

All we had were the good surfers who we could copy from a distance. Me and my friends spent about three years just in the white-water.

I didn't think about becoming a pro surfer until I was about 20.

Growing up in Newcastle, it's not exactly the first thing you think of.

Sam Lamiroy
Geordie boy: Sam relaxes in warmer climes

When did you decide to go professional?

Sam: I started doing a few competitions when I was about 17 and I was fifth in the world in the World Junior Championships.

It was then that I had to choose between surfing and university.

But because of my background and the lack of funding I thought there was no point making a career out of surfing, it was a ridiculous idea, so I went to university for three years.

It was when I finished university, and I had some more success, that I got in touch with a few sponsors.

How did you go about making contact?

Sam: You have to think that whatever sponsors, or surf companies, give you in terms of money or equipment they want something in return.

Sponsors want exposure and they want people to associate their product with a certain lifestyle or a certain level of success.

Let's not beat around the bush. If you want a sponsor you need to be very good at surfing.

Sam Lamiroy performs a floater
On top of the world: Sam in action

So if you think you're getting to that level, do as many local competitions as you can. If you can compete at national level, then enter those competitions too.

Then write to some sponsors. Every surf company has money in their budget for sponsoring surfers.

Get yourself a couple of pictures of you in action together with a side of A4 paper describing who you are, your background and include your competition results.

Explain what you can offer to the sponsors and what you would like in return.

Any tips on what to suggest?

Sam: Start small. There's no point in a 12 year old asking for 100,000 a year and a flash car.

Tell them you're a good surfer and you've had some good results and ask them for a bit of their product.

Maybe a few t-shirts, a wetsuit or some watches or whatever. Start like that and then when you get better you can start asking for more.

Sam Lamiroy gets barrelled
Sam's favourite move is getting barrelled

That's when you can talk about competing abroad and maybe asking for a travel budget.

Whatever coverage you get in the local paper or wherever, make sure you put a value on it.

If you get your picture in the paper, ring up the advertising desk and ask how much it would normally cost for an advert the same size on the same page.

That way you know how much your picture is worth. You can go to your sponsors and say, "I got 5,000 worth of pictures last year. Can I have 2,000 travel budget?"

They should realise that that's not a bad deal. That's the sort of approach you need to take.

Sam Lamiroy facts
Age: 28
Lives: Newcastle
Sponsors: O'Neill, Redbull
Fave UK wave: Back of the Point, Tynemouth
Fave world wave: Superbank at Kirra or Backdoor Pipeline

Open Quote
Most of the time in normal life, you don't face danger that often so you don't know your limits and you don't know what you're capable of. I think that's quite sad. At least with surfing you can explore your own boundaries.
Close Quote
Sam Lamiroy
Britain's No 1 surfer

:: BBC Surfing website

:: Sam Lamiroy

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