I want to start off by saying I might not be the best person to write this article, since I did not grow up in the early 90’s when this trick was invented. Having said that, I want to give it a shot, because this is one of my favorite tricks. Since you can very easily figure out the origins of the trick (if you don't already know), I’ll keep that part brief. The trick was invented by Eric Dressen, legendary transition/early street skater of the late 80s-early to mid 90s. If you haven't seen his epicly later'd, you can probably go find him and ask him about it yourself at Glendale Park* where he still skates, or even at the Crailtap park from time to time.
*most insane review of all time
So, Dressen invented the trick, which he originally called the 'windshield wiper', then others called it the Dressen grind, perhaps still called the Dressen grind by older vert guys, skaters who quit in 1990, or annoying people just waiting for the opportunity to correct you. But eventually people started calling it the salad grind. Dressen----Dressing----Salad Dressing----bada bing bada boom.
SO this trick was invented on transition, but like all other tricks, it doesn’t take long for them to be taken to the streets**. Colt SOTY 15.
Some people might correct me here, but for the sake of the substance of this article I am going to forego any proper semantics and call the backside version the "backside salad". I feel like this is more like calling it a "backside smith" instead of a Monty grind. At the end of the day Owen Wilson calls it a backside salad and goes uncorrected by Carroll, Howard and the rest of the cohort of legends therein, so I’ll move right ahead.
I’m going to make a perhaps outrageous claim here, and give Brad Staba a lot of credit when it comes to the popularity of the salad grind in the early to mid 2000s. In the mid-to-late 90s, we weren’t really seeing too much of this trick. People were doing 5-0s and feebles on rails, but nobody was really fucking with the salad. I mean, it’s kind of an insane trick to do on a rail, especially if you had never seen anybody do it. If you don’t lock in perfectly, you’re fucked. Anyway - I think Brad's in his Nervous Breakdown part was the first time that I really noticed the trick. It wasn't just a 5-0 180 out a rail, but a truly grinded salad, held onto tightly, but caressed. Handled roughly, but not mistreated. I'm sure Templeton did thousands before this, but this one really stuck out for me.
Now - my theory on salad grinds down rails is that this is how it started, as a way to make a 5-0 fakie happen on a rail. Almost like a backside blunt to fakie. Then it evolved by going to regular. Then people took it frontside. This is all speculation and I’m sure there’s some forgotten maniac out there who was front salad grinding rails before we were all born.
In the early 2000s, the salad grind experienced a huge resurgence, primarily thanks to the Emerica kids, Spanky, Matt Allen, Leo, etc. Even Evan Hernandez was throwing them down in gym shorts. These guys fuckin’ loved salad grinds. Frontside, backside, nollie, didn’t matter. If they could lock in, they were sending it down whatever they could find. For me personally, I think the most memorable is Matt Allen’s down the Hollywood High 16. Not only did this trick make absolutely no sense to me, he was doing it down set’s I wouldn't even want to walk up. The salad grind was back, and all was good in the world.
But then it kept spreading. You started seeing them everywhere. You couldn’t watch a full video between 2001 and 2004 without seeing one of these things. It was a fucking epidemic. 411's, ON Videos, Transworld parts, Thrasher covers, skateparks, dumpsters, drive-ins, and dives, you name it and somebody was salad grinding it.
So at this point you might be asking yourself, "wait, but then why don't we see more of these today?".
Well, two things happened:
This was the shift. It went too far. Things got out of hand. Nobody could control the salad grind. Justin Eldridge throws a switch front salad in the middle of his part, and right when you think the part might be coming to a close, hits us with a switch flip front salad. Dude. Come on. Switch flip front salad. Why?
Okay, but that was it, right? Surely nobody could be more reckless with one single trick in their part.
Wrong. We then got hit with Dobstaff’s part in Subject to Change. This part may be single-handedly responsible for killing the salad grind.
A brief overview of Chris Dobstaff's part in Subject to Change.
1.) Front salad
2.) Front salad shove
3.) Kickflip backside salad
4.) Just a straight-up long-ass front salad
5.) Switch front salad Brooklyn Banks
SO, what have we learned here today? Take it slow. When you find something nice, treat it with care. Don't over-do it. Keep it simple. There is no need to add pepper when that sucker is spicy to begin with. Now let's get out there and do some responsible salad grinds.
P.S. In case you were wondering, it is possible to learn this trick after 12 years of skateboarding.
Special shout out to the boy Ian Coughlan for inspiring this article.
**it's a reference to the song.