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Terry Synnott (@modeskateboards)

Tom – How long have you been freestyling? 

Terry – I started skating in 1985 and got my first freestyle board about 10 months later.

Tom – You’re the owner of Mode Skateboards. How long has Mode been around and what are some of the highlights of the brand? 

Terry – Mode started in 2010. The first boards we ever made were brought to the 2010 world freestyle championships in Philadelphia and sold to other people skating in the contest. I had just started learning about screen-printing and those were the first ones I ever printed. To date, I’ve hand-screened every Mode board we have ever made. I like being in charge of that aspect and being able to do small batches with always-changing color schemes. I also like that my wife, Jenna, designs most of the graphics. 

Tom – Favourite freestyle trick, as well favourite skateboarder growing up? 

Terry – I’ll start with my favorite skateboarders growing up. For freestyle, they have always been Henry Candioti and Joe Humeres. It didn’t hurt that they were based in the northeast of the United States. That just helped solidify my appreciation of them at a time when so much of skateboarding was centred on the West Coast.

For most favorite trick, I’ll go with the double wheel spin trick on the rail that Joe Humeres does so well.

Tom – What plans do you have for Mode in 2023? 

Terry – We will release some new decks and variations of our freestyle wheels. I’d also like to resume doing trick-tip videos. We run Mode in addition to our full-time jobs so carving out time for that is difficult. I end up spending much of my free time printing boards, cutting skid plates, and setting up completes.

Tom – Current board setup? 

Terry – My current set up is the new symmetrical 7.3 Mode “Time Travelers” deck, Indy 109 trucks, Mode 95A/55mm magenta freestyle wheels, Synopsis bearings, skid plates, and MOB griptape.

Tom – Favourite music to listen to at the moment? 

Terry – Hmm, that’s a tough question. It’s never really one thing. I usually listen to Pandora when I skate and I lately have had it set to either The Chameleons, Throwing Muses, Julian Cope, Black Flag, or De La Soul, and just listen to whatever it plays.

Tom – What got you into freestyle and the forming of Mode Skateboards, considering that freestyle has such a small piece of the pie in the skate industry?

Terry – The first Bones Brigade video and the 1985 NSA Del Mar “Spring Fling” video are what really got me interested in freestyle. I liked to do things slightly obsessively back then. When I started skating, that was all I wanted to do. My father helped me build a five-foot quarter pipe in our backyard and I’d watch the few videos I had at the time. It was mostly of ramp skating, which I loved. But being 13 or 14, I didn’t have access to spots that I saw on video or in a magazine. Then, when I saw that Del Mar contest, I realized I had the most perfect spot to skate up the street from my house. It was a huge church parking lot that had just been re-paved.

Mode started at a time when a few of the original supporters of the 2000s rebirth of freestyle were fading away. I’m thinking of Capital and OutLook. I had ridden for both of them. At the time, I was in the middle of a four-year run where I was skating professionally in a Cirque du Soleil show at Madison Square Garden. I needed to have a board that worked for my skating and I didn’t want to have to rely on someone else to make it happen. I had been discussing the idea of riding for Shut Skateboards. Rodney Smith, the founder of Shut and then Zoo York, was really on board to do something with freestyle. He and his wife had come to the Cirque du Soleil show I was skating in, and he wanted Shut to do something freestyle-specific. I’d go down on my days off to his shop on the Lower East Side and we’d discuss freestyle. He even hand-cut some prototypes out of some bigger Shut decks, but he couldn’t get his business partners on board at the time. I want to say this was around 2008-09. So, while I was waiting in limbo to see if Shut would happen, I just decided to start making my own boards under the Mode name. I picked that name for a variety of reasons. At the time, hardly anyone was making shapes. I envisioned Mode representing the diversity of skating and its various “modes.” I also liked that skating is a mode of transportation. And, lastly, I grew up really liking two companies, Flite and Shut, both East Coast companies with one syllable names.

Tom – Favourite pastime outside of skateboarding? 

Terry – Does yardwork count? I actually find that fun. I like spending time with Jenna and our new Boston Terrier puppy, Otis. I also like screen-printing and exercising.

Tom – Favourite Mode product currently released? 

Terry – I’ve got to go with the Mode “Time Travelers” deck.

Tom – Any last words or shout-outs?

Terry – Learn the basics, roll, and have fun. My shoutout list would be too long to mention, but I’d like to shoutout to all the people I used to always see every few months during the early 2000s rebirth of freestyle, when we were traveling to contests and sessions all over. I’m thinking of Keith Renna, Tommy Harward, AJ Kohn, Darryl Grogan, Frank Lee, Lillis, JJ O’Donnell, and everyone else who decided freestyle was something worth resurrecting.

One of Terry’s Cirque du Soleil performances.

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