Does it have to be eight inches? It doesn’t have to be, but logo placement on your board is definitely critical. Pro surfers get paid partially by how visible a logo appears in a photograph, and that eight inches from the nose of the surfboard is almost always the most visible spot.
But you can’t squeeze all your logos up there, so how do you decide who gets this prime spot? The great philosopher Yoda said, “You must choose wisely.”
First off, whoever pays the most, gets the most — in this case logo placement in the first eight inches. But where do you go from there? The first logical choice would be just below the eight inches — but wait, this is where it gets tricky.
Most contracts read that a surfer must have the brand’s logo close to that eight inches. What’s the best choice then? In my experience, you can place it where you think it’ll show up — but you might not get paid full price. So surfers are better off working out logo placement with their sponsors before inking any contract. They should analyze their surfing and share their thoughts with potential sponsors.
A surfer’s ability, style, and usual surf spot all dictate what part of the board will get the most coverage. Sometimes a logo will appear better in other places than just below that eight inches. For example, tailslides usually bury the nose, so logos placed between a surfer legs or slightly ahead of the front foot will be best — and cutbacks and airs make the bottom of the board just as important as the top.
Do sponsored surfers really need to be that concerned about logo placement? If they’re making an attempt at a career in surfing and are anything less than the next Kelly Slater, I think they do.