I spent a minute with Tyler Bignell of Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast, to find out the story behind his intriguing foray into the handmade fun machines he calls Worthy Skateboards.
What do you make? Custom timber skateboards.
Where do you source your materials? My brother in law Nick builds motorhomes, so I started off just using old pieces of scrap from his workshop to make the decks. My Dad is right into timber too and he’s got some different types which I’m excited about trying… Some red cedar and maple silkwood which both have a really nice grain to them. The fabrics and patterns I use are kind of sourced from all over the place. Op shops mostly, or just old clothes and tablecloths that people have been throwing away or donating to charity. Most of the vinyl comes from off-cuts from autotrimming. I’m trying my best to only use recycled stuff if I think I can get away with it.
What inspires your designs? I just like making things that are a bit different. There’s definitely a bit of an old fashioned feel to the things I like most whether it’s skating orsurfing. I really like the idea of how skating started as an extension of surfing and I guess that’s what I’m thinking of when I’m making a board. As far as the design side goes I try and do mostly custom orders, because there’s that uniqueness about a one-off board that will only ever be ridden by one person. It’s really satisfying when you make something for someone that they actually love and they’re like ‘Yes!’… I get a real kick out of that.
Describe your workshop? I’m lucky I can work out of a space in Nick’s shed where I’ve got plenty of tools and can make as much noise as possible. Otherwise most of the garage and my bedroom has been a workshop at one time or another. Trying to stain some boards in my carpeted bedroom was a pretty recent fail. Haha!
What’s the story behind your brand name? When I shaped a few surfboards years ago I called them Worthy, and even though they didn’t surf too well people would stop and ask about the name. Worthy Bignell was my great, great grandfather… I’ve never known anything about him, just the name has always stuck. I like to think that with a name like Worthy he just must have been the nicest bloke around you know, with a big smile on his face all the time.
What tunes are you digging this week? The last couple of weeks I’ve really been enjoying Apparat. It’s new to me and it’s kind of haunting but his songs just build and build. It’s great stuff.
Where’s your ideal location to take Worthy board for a cruise? The last proper skate I had was on my girlfriend’s Worthy down at the skate park at Evan’s Head. I was up early checking waves in town and there wasn’t much happening so I ended up having a really fun skate at the park for an hour, until all the groms descended on it a bit later on. Otherwise there have been a few new bitumen roads popping up in the area lately, and they’re so smooth and perfect for just skating down to check the waves or to the shops.
Tell us about your personal favourite…. My favourite is probably one of the oddest ones I’ve made so far… It was just a sqaure offcut that wasn’t meant to become a board but I just wondered what if? Haha. It’s got little 2″ rollerskate trucks and I found some original 1970s metaflex urethane wheels to put on it. I love it because it’s just that ugly, and it makes me laugh.
Where can we find your boards? Every board I make goes up on facebook.com/worthyskateboards, and I’m just getting involved in Instagram (@worthyskateboards) but I’m still a bit of a rookie there. I have an ad on Gumtree, and most people find me through there or on facebook. But now I’m lucky enough to have a few boards for sale at Alfred’s Apartment in Mermaid Beach, and also with the lovely girls at Don’t Tell Fannie in Nobby’s Beach.
Thanks Tyler, love your work bro. Thanks mate, chat to you soon!