Mckenzie Bowden Cops A Flight On Kelly Slater's Shiny Noggin - Stab Mag

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Mckenzie Bowden Cops A Flight On Kelly Slater’s Shiny Noggin

Lands on 22 minutes of psychedelic surf cinema.

features // Feb 18, 2023
Words by Coral McDuffee
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Surf films take a lot work and a fair amount of dumb luck.

You have the variables you control (for the most part), like talent selects, filmer selects, location, and cash flow. Then you have the uncontrollable variables that hit from left field, like no waves, canceled flights, missing media, itchy throats, no fins, the list goes on…..

In every compelling surf production, there are equivocally compelling hurdles. With Dane Reynolds and the Glad You Scored crew, it was swell trouble. For Caity Simmers’ and her ‘Toasted’ production, the spinning wheel of death came out to play.

While creating his psychedelic opus — ‘Life’s A Trip’ — Mckenzie Bowden lost the data on three hard drives. The setback was a problem, but Mckenzie Bowden and friends were able to draw from the very source of inspiration and recover the narrative.

All about production value.

Stab caught up with Mckenzie to ask about what happened, and what his inspiration was for this very unique film.

“Elliot (co-star/filmer) and I were on the beers one night at 2.a.m and concluded that we wanted to make a surf movie and get trippy with it — A sort of cinematic comedy narrative, inspired by nature and inward shroom experiences.

I got a budget from Quiksilver, and we worked with that to get to the South Coast of New Zealand. I wanted put the film out in a couple of months, but we had some massive ideas with animation. When we got back to Oz, the hard drive failed — cooked itself. Lost two days of filming because we didn’t back anything up, and only had one hard drive. I saved some of the surfing and lifestyle on my computer, but lost a good amount.

Pretty demoralizing.

Ba ba ba

There was a comp in Indo, so we decided to stay at Elliot’s place in Sumbawa while trying to retrieve everything through the spiral of data retrieval websites and shit. It was a full meltdown basically. We had this big idea for Quik, and nothing to show.

Then we figured, “hey we’re in Bali right now, let’s completely switch it up and make it happen here—we can make it work. We ended up having some mushies that night, and it all came to us.

I didn’t realize it was going to be so stressful trying to make a movie. Big eye-opener.”



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