WHAT YOU DO: Get the best deals for your clients. Which means hardball negotiating with team managers and sponsors and maximizing athletes' positive images. You'll also oversee client schedules, sponsor obligations, media interviews, and more. "The work never stops, especially when the guys are on the road," says Blair Marlin of Wasserman Media Group, agent for surfers Andy and Bruce Irons. Of course, you might be on the road with them—at, say, Oahu's North Shore for the Triple Crown of Surfing, or on a heli-skiing trip in the Canadian backcountry for a video shoot.
WHY NOW: After a long wait, mainstream mega-brands like American Express and Target have embraced action-sports stars as pitchmen, which in turn means more openings for agents at top sport-rep firms. Meanwhile, the consumer market for snowboard, skate, and surf labels has ballooned to $11 billion annually. "There are so many more opportunities than there were ten years ago," says Susan Izzo, CEO of Encinitas, California–based Mosaic Sports Management.
THE NUMBERS: 10 to 20 percent of every deal you ink. Or, at a bigger agency, a flat salary—$40,000 to start, then up to $200,000 and more. Your hours: 24/7.
BREAKING IN: There are sports-agent programs at USC, Indiana University, and UMass-Amherst, but insiders say a keen understanding of action sports is more important. Go to competitions and make connections with players in the industry. Wasserman (wmgllc.com), IMG (imgworld.com), and Octagon (octagon.com) offer internships.