If there is one thing the skateboard industry is littered with, it is people who hit up your brand (as well as every other brand they come across) for free gear. Here at DF13 we like to call them "flow beggars."
Flow beggars are the easiest to spot in the skateboard industry. These are the people that hit you up in email, social media, etc. They send you a video of them showcasing their minimal skate "skills" and then ask you if you would think about sponsoring them. They'll send these out to as many skateboard brands as they can. Some brands will undoubtedly entertain them while others won't. We suggest ignoring these people all together. All they're looking for is free gear. They have nothing to offer in return...and let's face it, a good sponsorship deal is one that is mutually beneficial. How beneficial is it to give free gear away to people who have flawed skate abilities and flawed video abilities? A brand is looking for someone to essentially be the face of their company. Is that really the person you want repping your skate brand? Someone that can't skate well and hits up every skate brand they can find for free shit?
How do you spot a "flow beggar?" It's simple. When they send you a message, go check out their profiles. You will undoubtedly see at least a few posts about looking for a deal, and even some posts about how many companies have sent them shit. The truth is, they're probably not lying. It's a game of odds for them. If you hit up a hundred companies for free gear, you're bound to get lucky enough to gather a pile of skateboards or shirts.
Make no mistake, these people do not have the work ethic or follow through to actually be a professional skateboarder. Being a success at anything requires dedication, follow through, professional attitude and selflessness.
As stated, once you realize you're dealing with a "flow beggar," the best option is to simply ignore them. If you choose to entertain them and ask them to do literally anything in exchange for their flow, not only will they not lift a finger, but they then become bitter that you just didn't simply send them free shit. They'll bad mouth you, talk smack on you on social media and attempt to trash your name out of resentment for not giving them a handout. Some of the funniest are the ones that tell everyone that you never sent them their free stuff or anything at all. Then tell everyone that your products are garbage...after just telling everyone that they actually have no experience with your products.
We would also suggest the route that DF13 takes. We have a "Development Team." The development team is for the ones that sit right on that blurred line of "this may be a flow beggar or they may be legit." The development team allows you to quickly weed through them. When placed on a development team, a flow beggar will make themselves known pretty quickly. A development team also allows a skater to hone their skills during their "probationary time" and allows you as a company to see if they have what it takes to represent your company.
Don't just give out free shit to everyone that asks. You will be wasting money.