The Picasso Of Social Media Surf Skits Reveals The Tear-Shed Moment He Confronted Girlfriend With Outrageous Stab Highway Hairdo
Mckenzie Bowden had to quarantine in the doghouse.
Mckenzie Bowden’s stock has risen dramatically in the past few months. His skits on social media have gained traction with a broad audience in and out of the surf world who engage with his playful and infectious parodies of surf and surf-adjacent memes.
Mckenzie Bowden was the star of our That Guy Series, where the theme was poorly executed representations of surfing’s subcultures. He executed his role perfectly, and both to our surprise and delight, the play count soared past ep 1 of Stab Highway.
Mckenzie is gifted on a range of crafts, finding his groove on asyms, twinnies, and needle-stick thrusters alike. When Stab caught up with Mckenzie he was wolfing down a vegan burrito after a strike mission to the Sunshine Coast to film skits.
Here, Mckenzie elaborates on the treatment he received from his girlfriend when he arrived home with a dyed, sundial haircut after 10 days on the road, his philosophy of making content, not taking himself too seriously, and his questionable Madonna playlist.
Stab: What did your girlfriend say when you got home and she saw your haircut?
Mckenzie: She literally shed a tear. She looked at me like she had seen a ghost. She was like, ‘Don’t come near me, I can’t believe you’ve done this’. I felt so terrible but I was like ‘Nah no way, I’m owning this.’ There was a little voice in the back of my head saying, ‘You’re an idiot, you don’t believe that’. So yeah, a quick stint in the doghouse but we made amends shortly after.
I think your team had the greatest mix of personalities. An environmentalist, a hungry QS grinder, a seasoned vet freesurfer/entrepreneur, and yourself, a social media superstar. How was the team chemistry?
I think the diversity on the team was really good actually. Full-spectrum. Dion kind of took over the dad role after the first day. We kept it pretty tame, which was good because I’m actually pretty sensitive and in an environment where you are trying to complete tasks as a team, and drink beers, it could’ve easily rattled me. I’m on the full grandpa program – Green tea, celery juice, reishi mushrooms, bed by 9. That’s more my style.
Who from your team would you least like to be stuck in an elevator with?
Probably me, myself, and I. I’d be begging for any one of their company. I don’t want that headnoise alone by myself.
Fuck, I dodged that one pretty well, hey?
Who was the grubbiest?
Weirdly, everyone kind of had their shit together. We didn’t really stay in one place long enough to make a mess.
Who was on AUX duties?
It was a bit of a mixture. Dion took the bull by the horns when he was driving, but I also got on there a played some questionable Madonna songs. I get pretty hectic AUX anxiety, it’s like you’re on stage performing, and with my whack playlists, I wouldn’t blame them for cringing.
Snowy Mountains, strange detour. Who was the culprit?
That call was blurry to me. Some fella from the resort we stayed at in Crescent mentioned there was a river wave down there. The forecast wasn’t great, and we wanted to get creative, so we just say ‘fuck it’ and left at 3 am the next day. As it turned out, we didn’t find the standing wave but we got to do some jumps on a snowboard which was fun.
You’ve become a bit of a social media superstar lately. Dances, jingles, and sketches, making fun of surf and surf-adjacent memes. Who are you drawing inspiration from in the content creation sphere?
I’ve always loved comedy. I used to watch a lot of Key and Peele when I was younger, and a bunch of Chris Lilley and Sterling Spencer. It all popped off after doing pretty hard work on the tools rendering and we just started shooting a bunch of dancing skits on the worksite. From there it’s evolved organically into muckabout skits with mates that we’ll dream up and try and put together.
Is it all planned out or is it kind of impromptu?
A bit of both. You kind of come up with the concept and then come up with stuff on the fly. Bitta back-and-forth.
Mostly, just the everyday heroes. People I see on a daily basis who rip and make it look fun. In the last few years I’ve been pretty heavily converted from strictly thrusters to twinnies and asyms. AP (Asher Pacer) has obviously been a huge influence, but there’s Ryan Burch and Bryce Young. I just wanted to try and have fun like them. But mostly I blame AP for converting me.
I’ve been sucked into the twinnies too since moving to Byron.
It’s what happens when you move to the Northern Rivers. Someone scatters pixie dust, nek minut, POOF, you’re riding twinnies. There must be something in the air. Spiritual transformations on arrival.
Your That Guy series has been a huge success in terms of the response and play counts which we couldn’t have predicted. There’s a lot of funny archetypes in surf, and I think the audience was glad to see someone tease it apart playfully.
Yeah, it’s one of those things that just kind of just happens. For me, it was kind of breaking out of the mold and taking a bit of a creative risk by being prepared to look silly. But yeah, if you don’t like it, all good, I think if you can make someone smile, particularly in this day and age, that’s key.
Who do you resemble the most: the core guy, industry guy, or hipster guy?
Oh god, I see myself in all of them. I’ve had multiple surf identity crises over the years which I think helped me to relate to them. A blend of all three?
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