6skates toronto

Someone in Toronto made a custom fingerboard for a viral skating bird

A bird that's gone viral for skating on mini boards caught the attention of a Toronto fingerboard company resulting in them making the tiny creature its own custom board.

@littlewolfiebird is a brilliantly blue parrotlet with his own YouTube channel (which shows you how to train your own bird to do cute tricks), Instagram, and a TikTok with over 1.5 million followers. When looking for a new deck, the feathered influencer connected with Toronto-based fingerboard designer 6Skates.

"I started 6Skates in 2017 with a focus on making full size skateboards and up-cycling broken skateboards into new items like keychains and jewellery. This is a side hustle for me mostly to relive my youth as an 80s skater boy and to indulge my entrepreneurial leanings," 6Skates founder Vito Mercorillo told blogTO.

"It's not only people who fingerboard! I had no clue this was a thing until little Wolfie popped up in my Instagram feed. Wolfie's skills are amazing and the dedication of the trainer is matching. I saw the cheap plastic boards Wolfie was using and immediately knew something better was needed."

Mercorillo is referring to the plastic boards you might have played with as a kid, "Tech Decks" made of a solid piece of plastic. What businesses like 6Skates are doing is constructing fingerboards almost the exact same way you'd make a full size skateboard, but in miniature.

"My son has always been into Tech Decks (the toy brand of fingerboards) and I noticed in my Instagram feed there was a large number of serious fingerboarders that weren't using the toy brand. Out of pure curiosity I set out to make my first real wood fingerboard," says Mercorillo.

"I started to share the journey and fingerboards I made online and things really took off. My following increased, engagement from the community was great and sales started to happen. There is a huge worldwide fingerboarding community that has been around since the early 2000s. Some of the larger brands have followers between 30K and 100K."

There's real money in the business, too: considering the work that goes into making the fingerboards and their popularity, prices can reach over $80 or sometimes even $100 for coveted Blackriver products sold on the 6Skates site, some of which are sold out. 6Skates charges $18.99 for fingerboards of their own creation.

"Fingerboarding has seen a resurgence during the global pandemic because it's something you can do at home in a small space and share with the online community. Although there is a contingent of kid fingerboarders many in the scene are adults who enjoy developing the skills and being part of the community," says Mercorillo.

He figured if kids and adults who are into fingerboarding enjoy having their own custom deck, why wouldn't a skateboarding bird?

"I reached out to Wolfie's trainer and discovered she was not happy with the current boards and was excited to collaborate on something custom. There was some back and forth on the design and dimensions. When all the particulars were set out I got to work and made two custom fingerboards for Wolfie," says Mercorillo.

"There was always some question on if Wolfie would adapt to the new boards but it looks like Wolfie has started off well. With some more training Wolfie will be accustomed to his new boards and skating in style."

He added that since Wolfie's post, he has had "a handful of other bird parents inquire about custom boards."

While Mercorillo is happy about the attention from birds and their humans, he notes that most of his customers are people and he just wants to continue to expand his business and spread the love of the quirky hobby of fingerboarding.

"The majority of my customers are Canadian and we have sent orders as far away as the Yukon Territory and as close as two blocks down. Last month I expanded the online shop to include boards from another Canadian maker from BC and the most popular fingerboard brand which operates out of Germany," says Mercorillo.

"Our plans for 2021 depend on what the COVID restrictions look like. I've designed a fingerboard park to be built this month and could be used for pop up events in the summer. I also have plans to introduce more fingerboard products that incorporate up-cycled skateboards."

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