Last Call – Salman Agah
How do trends start? Who is credited for being on the forefront of a movement? Or is the person just doing what they would normally do and folks seem to like it, accept it, and want to move forward with it? It’s hard to say who is responsible for a whole movement, but key individuals are usually easy to spot. During the 90’s skateboarding changed from vert skating to street skating. Now street skating is common place but 20 years ago things were very, very different. Tricks were being invented on the daily and “vert” tricks made their way to the streets. Within a very short time there was this explosion in skateboarding, and Salman Agah was there on the front lines, unknowingly being one of the modern fathers of street skating and riding switch. I’m not going to list all kinds of tricks or video parts, if you were around that time then you know what kind of impact Salman made on skateboarding. Period.
1. You were Thrasher’s “Skater of the Year”, had your own shoes on Vans, and basically were on the forefront of modern day street skateboarding. What is Salman Agah doing as of late?
As of late, I’ve been working for Steve Berra and Eric Koston at The Berrics.
2. You were from Virginia, then moved to San Jose when you were a youngin’. How did you initially start skateboarding?
I’m actually from Washington D.C., however I did grow up in Alexandria, VA up until I was around 9. I initially started skateboarding around 1978, when my dad bought me a skateboard. I believe we got my first board on the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD. I remember wanting what looked like a pro board at the time, but I ended up with a little red plastic “banana board”, with red wheels. I loved that thing more than anything in the world. From the time I got it, I new then at 5 that I would skateboard for the rest of my life.
3. Who was your first sponsor and how did that come about?
Initially getting sponsored is kind of cloudy. It all happened fast kind of simultaneously. I was getting flowed Circle A stuff from Joe Lopes (R.I.P.) He walked up to me at the first SJ warehouse and asked me, “Do you get boards”. I replied “No”. Then Lopes said you do now and stared flowing me. Simon Woodstock also flowed me stuff when he had Winchester Skate Shop in Campbell. Around the same time Greg Carroll hooked me up on Venture. That’s how it went down for the most part. Not long after Steve Caballero started flowing me and then I got sponsored by Powell Peralta. All of this was around 1988/89.
4. How was it being on REAL when you got on?
It was basically a brand new company with a amazing team. Riding for Real was the best, especially at that time. The team was brand new, the company was brand new, skateboarding was changing from half pipe skating to street skating. Skateboarding tricks were being invented daily and we were all collectively on the forefront building the edifice that skateboarding now stands on.
5. Can you please give us an awesome James Kelch story?
I wish I could, but Kelch would ditch us and go off on adventures that I wasn’t along for the ride on. All I can say is that when Kelch came to town, there isn’t a chance in the world that he didn’t become an instant legend before we left.
6. Out of all the companies you rode for, what was the must stressful video you ever had to film for?
Honestly, I never really stressed on filming for videos. Quite honestly over time skateboarding videos became the least interesting thing in skateboarding for me. I’m somewhat of a realist and was for the most part more impressed with seeing what people were capable of live as opposed to what they could record on video for a part. Anyone can film a video part, not everyone can impress people with what they do live in the flesh.
7. San Jose is so far removed from the Southern California skate “industry” yet it breeds some of the most talented skateboarders anywhere. Can you explain this phenomenon?
It’s the water.
8. The Firm was one of my all time favorite companies for sure. How was it being back on the same team with lance Mountain and (the always smiling) Ray Barbee?
I really enjoyed being on The Firm. That was a special time for me being able to spend so much time with Lance and Ray. I looked up to both of them so much and was so stoked to have had the opportunity to travel the world with them and skate together so much.
9. Skateboarding is very big now. So many tradeshows, bidding wars, big money being thrown around, Maloof cups, what do you think about all of this? Good? Bad?
Big Question! I believe that with size comes responsibility. As skateboarders it’s our duty to help guide future generations of skateboarders in the right direction. To guide or lead requires a concerted, conscious, vigilant effort. Trade shows, skateboard contests, money, wars of various kinds are all tools. I don’t believe the point is whether or not those things are good or bad, rather how are we as skateboarders who are an integral part of the skateboard “industry” using those things or not, to lead or guide future generations of skateboarders.
10. Who would win in a flat ground game of skate you or Steve Berra? I’m claiming you!
Let me just state that I hate losing more than I like winning.
Here is Salman’s video part from Label Kills. Big guy with quick feet, Sal rules!- Dave Ashley