Updated: May 8, 2021
Photography: Leo Sharp
I’d go to Cantelowes and everyone would look at me like they’d seen a ghost.
Yes Sal! Starting things off, can you introduce yourself for us please?
My name is Salar Kooshki, and I’m a Persian skater from North London.
Were you born and raised in North London?
I was actually born in Iran, and I came to the UK when I was four or five years old. Funnily enough, I came into the country via Doncaster, so I was a Yorkshire boy for about six years. I came to North London when I was halfway through year six at school. It was a bit tough, being a Yorkshire lad trying to fit in, but…we’re here now, boy!
Can you tell us how you first found your way onto a skateboard?
So I was playing in the park near my house one day, in Finchley Central. I saw Aref Koushesh, who a lot of you may know by his Instagram name – @boboganoush. He had a broken leg, so I asked him about how he got it. He told me it was through skateboarding, and that I should definitely try it out. I told him that I didn’t think my mum would let me out to Camden, where the local skatepark was. But I got a set up, I think it was a plastic Action Man board, and skated for about a year and a half out the front of my gaff.
One foot mayday, or one foot pivot fakie - call it what you want, but it's a crazy trick to have on lock.
Some people reading this might recognise your name already, as back around 2012, you were getting coverage and had a handful of sponsors. Who were your sponsors back then, and how did those hook-ups come about?
Back in my ‘comp days’, I was just hungry, man. I was only 14 and I was going to comps in places like Manchester on my own. I was sponsored by Three Amigos Skateshop, who actually paid for quite a few train tickets for me to get about.
Things with Vans started after one of the Skegness jams, in the plaza out the back (of XSite Skatepark). We actually got there on the wrong day, so me and Tim Prozorov had to camp by the beach. The next day we skated and went ham, and (Nic) Powley was there. I made a jokes comment, like, “when are you going to send me some shoes, mate?” But then he sent me a message a week or two after the comp, asking what shoe size I was, and what my address was. It was so surreal; just any Persian kid made a little joke, then it actually came through.
Pete (Makarski), one of the owners of Three Amigos, was quite close with Jerome Loughran from Shiner. I think they had a chat about what board company I would fit, and they chose Creature. Then Mob Grip came into play with OJ Wheels. They were good days, man. I’d just rock up at the skateshop and I’d have a box there, all ready with free boards, griptape, clothing, the lot. To be honest, I couldn’t have asked for more. I was a very lucky kid, bruv.
What did your parents make your skateboarding endeavours? Were they supportive?
At first, my parents didn’t really take it seriously, but they did slowly become supportive when they weren’t having to pay for my clothes any more. I’d have clothes turning up at my door, two or three pairs of shoes a month coming in, if it was the winter season I’d have a big puffer jacket from Vans…bits like that when you have Middle Eastern parents, they’re a plus (laughs).
But any time I’d come home with a broken ankle or a broken wrist, that’s when they’d be like, “you need to put it away, this isn’t any life for you”. At the same time, when their friends came around, if I had a picture in Sidewalk Magazine from a competition or whatever, they’d always be saying, “why don’t you bring the magazine down and show everyone?”
We had our ups and downs with it, but in all fairness, they were quite supportive of me sometimes.
I was a very lucky kid, bruv.
After a few years of seeing you almost constantly, it seemed like you drifted away from skateboarding. What were the factors that contributed to that?
I think it was 2016 or 2017 where I kind of started slowly falling off skating. The events seemed to be dying off. I was studying too; I think I was doing a business apprenticeship at that time. I started thinking to myself, “I’m not getting paid here. How much longer can I do this without getting paid?” So I thought that I needed to start studying, and I had a f*ck load to catch up on, boy (laughs).
Also, another reason was getting kicked off of Vans in 2017. There was a new TM, and apparently there were budget cuts, so three or four riders got kicked off. I think they kicked me off, and then Shiner followed. But I wasn’t doing much back then. I wasn’t being the most productive dude out there; I was just studying, and kind of partying to be honest with you. I fell into that party lifestyle, being of age and being able to go to clubs and sh*t. I feel like everyone kind of has a stage like that in skateboarding, but they come back to it.
Whilst you were focusing on studying and then learning your trade, did you ever completely stop skating, or did you always keep a hand in?
I quit my business apprenticeship. Eight hours a day in front of a computer screen, going to an office, being bare formal…that wasn’t me. After that, I picked up my trade. I’m an electrician now; I went to college for two years for that. As I was in college, I was still having the odd session here and there; I never lost that fire inside me for skating. I’d go to Cantelowes and everyone would look at me like they’d seen a ghost (laughs).
That was a sick trip, man. We went in a Fiat Panda, four fully-grown dudes…it was a bit shaky on the way there, but we made it out alive.
So you’re back skating regularly again, and are currently sponsored by The Hated Skateboards. Can you tell us a bit about the company please, and how you became involved?
The Hated Skateboards is run by Kev (McKeon) and Marcus (Adams), who are two very close friends of mine. The riders are Rio (O’Byrne) from Cantelowes, Husayn (Smart), Eddie Da Rocha from Jersey, and Rooney (Robert Woodward).
It must’ve been two years ago when I was dipping back into skating and making a few edits and whatnot. I saw Kev at Cantelowes and he gave me a few bits, then it went on from there. They’re good dudes; it’s not one of those skateboard brands trying to make a quick buck, they put their all into it.
Cornish carpark frontside blunt, NASSmasters 2020.
Are you guys working on a video? I see you’ve been on some missions recently.
We actually went to Amsterdam in December last year. That was a sick trip, man. We went in a Fiat Panda, four fully-grown dudes…it was a bit shaky on the way there, but we made it out alive (laughs). Hateboarding 2 is on the way and it will be coming out no time soon, as we keep saying. It’s been in progress for two years already, and I’d say it’s going to be another two years at least before it’s done. We’re just trying to put the best of the best out there.
Any final words, or anyone you’d like to thank?
I’d like to thank Kev and Marcus for keeping me well clothed and looking after me. I’d like to think Aref for being my inspiration since day dot. I’d like to thank you guys for backing me and involving me, whether it be for the trip that happened in Cornwall, or bringing me on to do this interview for the mag. Thanks for having me!
Follow Salar - @k_u_s_h_k_i