December 10, 2015
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Starboard Goes Grassroots, Aims to Recruit 100 Brand Ambassadors in the USA


Not simply content with being the winningest race team in the world, Starboard has a new goal: Getting their boards under the feet of influential local paddlers across the USA.

This week, Starboard and their North American distributor, Trident Sports, announced a new ambassador initiative, the “National Grassroots Team Program,” which aims to recruit 100 brand ambassadors to promote the sport and the Tiki logo in the United States.

Starboard is probably the leading board brand around the world, being one of the market leaders in almost every major paddling nation. However they, along with the other major international race brands such as Naish, have always faced much stiffer competition in the US market, which is extremely crowded but also extremely lucrative; according to some industry veterans, the United States accounts for 40-60% of global stand up paddle board sales.

While having stars such as Connor Baxter, Titouan Puyo, Fiona Wylde, Zane Schweitzer, et al is a huge bonus, there’s no doubt that “grassroots” marketing is still one of the most effective ways of getting boards into the hands of average paddlers.

So over the next few months, Starboard will be recruiting ambassadors that are respected in their local community and who are helping grow the sport in their region, and who in turn can promote the Tiki lifestyle.

Here’s the recap from the official release that came through the wires yesterday:

“Starboard SUP announced today that they will be launching a new initiative – growing the National Grassroots Team Program in the USA by enlisting 100 new Brand Ambassadors. “We see a lot of potential in the US market,” said Starboard CEO and brand visionary, Svein Rasmussen, “…and it all starts on the front lines with passionate locals who, like us, want to take SUP to the next level”.

To head this program, Starboard is bringing on Jim Brewer as the Starboard SUP Team Manager. A pioneer of the SUP industry, Jim has over 10 years of relevant experience, spanning from being a sponsored team rider himself to managing his own team and traveling the world photographing talent. His career has included involvement on all levels of the supply chain, including distribution, retail operations and sales.

“I look forward to discovering the next SUP superstar and helping stoke out the weekend warrior that wants to be a part of a fun team and ride the best boards on the planet” said Jim.

Who are Starboard Brand Ambassadors? They are unique individuals who show a passion for stand up paddleboarding and embody the Starboard tiki-life culture. They are active members of their local SUP communities who love the Starboard brand and can engage an audience on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. These ambassadors will be encouraged to participate in local “Tiki Tour” events and spread their passion and enthusiasm for the sport of stand up paddleboarding.”

In addition to the 100 Brand Ambassadors, Starboard will also be building an elite group of National Team Riders. These are exemplary individuals who are the leaders in the race scene or in their respective SUP disciplines.

In 2016, you can expect these riders to become the face of Starboard SUP in the USA.

Obviously there’s a marketing objective here, however I think Starboard should be commended for supporting the part of the sport that fundamentally supports the rest of our sport: The grassroots.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to represent the brand that’s home to more world ranked athletes than any other, head over to the Starboard North America site and apply to become an ambassador today.