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

In terms of other skaters, like maybe Paulo (Diaz), were there any other guys you were feeding off of just for powerful switch skating? Sheffey?
I was kind of on my own. It was more my own ideas about skating. The guys that I was inspired by were obviously the older generation. My peers though, the guys that motivated me at that time at the Embarcadero were Henry (Sanchez) and Mike (Carroll). They were basically at the forefront of modern street skating at that point. Henry and I skated together a bunch when he rode for Real and we traveled together. Henry was just beyond. If he had a better head on his shoulders, he’d still be a super star today. He was just so great to watch. He was a huge inspiration.

Lotti said he watched you learn nollie heel noseslides on curbs in like ’90. Do you remember getting those?
Not really. Honestly, right around ’90 all the curb stuff was so all over the place. I had a Real ad right after that with sequences of like a nollie backside 180 to switch backside 50-50, a nollie flip, nollie 180 switch manual, and another nollie trick. It was still really curb skating at that point. I think when people started taking those tricks to ledges it became a different story. The nollie thing was all around ’90. My favorite trick was like a nollie 180 around to switch frontside 5-0. I loved that trick. I never took it up to ledges though. That was all while I was skating with Henry, Trent Gaines. We would come down to LA and skate with like (Mark) Gonz, and Rudy (Johnson). I skated with Jovontae a lot. And Guy (Mariano).

Switch backside flip sequence and front blunt for a Thunder ad. Circa ’93.

Are there any tricks specifically that people have credited you with?
Maybe late shove its. I was in San Diego for the tradeshow and Henry, Jeff Klindt, and I went out skating. Henry and I were both trying to frontside pop shove it this fire hydrant. Neither of us could do it and finally Jeff Klindt was like, “Why don’t you ollie it first then do the shove it after you get over?” So we started both trying it that way. I ended up landing it before Henry. I remember coming home to San Jose to skate with Sean Mandoli and Jason Adams and showing them. That one felt like an invention.

That was a big deal. I remember that trick was like the only thing that mattered for a minute.
Yeah. Honestly somebody else might have done it. Jeff might have been more in tune with what tricks people were doing than we were. But next thing you knew, it became the trick and everybody was doing it.

Salman’s big part in The Real Video. 1993.