At age 20, Matt Banting’s collection of amateur contest victories is already comparable with those of many great Australians that came before him. After his win at the Los Cabos Open last week, Banting jumped in the WQS ratings to the No. 3 spot, setting the stage for a real run at the 2015 World Tour. We caught up with him in LAX, where he was waiting for a flight to South Africa for the Prime event at Ballito.
It’s only June and you already have two 6-Star wins. How’s it feel to be near the top of the WQS ratings?
It’s amazing. After winning the Newcastle comp, I didn’t expect to get another win in 2014. Wins definitely don’t come too often so it’s starting to feel like the hard work is paying off.
Is your main goal to qualify for the World Tour this year?
Yeah, but I’m not taking it too seriously. Before the start of the season, I made the goal of qualifying within three years. I’ve had a great run thus far but with seven Prime events to go, the year hasn’t really started yet. Primes are where the points are so I need to get a few solid results in them.
Do you think the ASP’s decision to separate the WCT and WQS ratings system hurts or helps you?
I think it helps because it gives a lot more opportunity for people to qualify. There are 10 spots up for grabs instead of just a handful; only three guys qualified last year. But in saying that, it’s way easier to fall off so I feel bad for guys like Dion Atkinson who have worked so hard for years to qualify. But I definitely can’t complain. Also, I love the new four-man priority system. Nowhere near as much hassling.
You’ve proven how dangerous of a competitor you are at places like Huntington Beach, Newcastle, and now Cabo. Say you qualify, would you feel confident going against the world’s best at Teahupoo or Pipe?
Yeah, I have really good friends at those spots that have offered to have me stay with them and learn the ropes. But it takes time at any spot to know what’s going on so it’ll be a challenge.
Beyond contests, you’ve made some well-received webclips. Do you plan on making more or is it too much of a distraction from focusing on the WQS?
It’s a bit distracting but it also takes your mind off the job. I love filming and we’ve already done a couple fun trips this year so we have some content up our sleeve. Thinking about releasing a short film around August. No rush though.
Watch: Matt Banting in Thirteen