Pioneer: Salman Agah, Full Interview—The Sultan of Switch

Brian Lotti was saying you had real good nollie heels early on. Was that kind of a starting point?
Yeah. Nollie heels. Nollie flips. Those were pretty much my bag of tricks then.

Had you seen other people do them? The dudes at EMB or whatever?
Not really. Honestly the first time I think a lot of people saw those tricks was the summer of ’91 in Europe. At the time most people were still going straight. I was kind of in my own world doing all this nollie stuff. I remember Colby Carter that summer was also interested in nollie tricks. We kind of connected on that that summer. What was going on at the time was late shove its. People were doing those and pressure flips were coming in. Boards were also changing. It went from ‘80s vert boards to the tiny popsicle boards. I think a lot of people liked my pro model when it came out too. It had a longer nose and was probably the skinniest board you could get at the time, which was probably like a 9” (Laughs.) The only other board with that shape was the “DW” Danny Way H-Street board, and I kind of imitated that for mine, and just made it thinner.

1992 Real ad showcasing nollie prowess.

I basically wanted to argue that you got into the nollie stuff early, then when you had the ankle injury it was almost this perfect set of circumstances to set you off on the switch stuff.
Yeah. Basically. I had also pushed mongo when I started. So when I decided to go backwards I could naturally push switch. It gave it a really natural feeling.

It also seemed like right when you started getting big, the pressure flip little wheel stuff was dying out and it was going back to basics. So you were kind of the first guy to do big basic stuff switch, rather than do the switch backside double flip over the hip where the board is scraping on the ground you would do like a big switch 180.
Yeah. I think that’s fair. I never considered myself a very technical skater.

But it kind of worked. Switch was like the pinnacle of tech. at that point but to have a guy actually do it with power and make it look good changed the way people saw it.
Yeah. A lot of it was just going faster at that point. People had slowed to crawl with the little wheels. Joe Brook actually has a really good story. I think Tobin (Yelland) has the sequences still. They were fresh off the boat from Michigan and came down to EMB in about ’90, ’91. I was doing full speed switch kickflip backside tailslides across the whole block. Like sliding a good 10-15 feet. I remember Joe told me later he had been talking to Tobin and was like, “What’s the big deal. It’s a kickflip backside tailslide.” He realized I was going backwards and I guess in his own words I blew his mind. All his ambition of becoming a pro skater promptly went out the window. I didn’t actually land it. At the time I didn’t really put much pressure on myself to land things.

Ad for the Notorious Real Everslick series. 1992.