Matt Banting: 2015 Rookie, but sick as a hound!
Story by Jake Howard As things stand now on the ASP Qualifying Series, 20-year-old Matty Banting will be the sole Australian rookie to join the 2015 World Surf League. He is currently sitting second on the QS with a very solid 17,920 points and only one event, the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, […]
Story by Jake Howard
As things stand now on the ASP Qualifying Series, 20-year-old Matty Banting will be the sole Australian rookie to join the 2015 World Surf League. He is currently sitting second on the QS with a very solid 17,920 points and only one event, the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, left on the schedule.
In early November Matty finished runner-up at the O’Neill SP Prime in Brazil and then headed to Hawaii to lock things up in the first two stops of the Triple Crown. But, struck down by a badass virus, he was forced to withdraw from the Reef Hawaiian Pro and watch Dusty Payne break Julian Wilson’s heart from the coziness of his bed.
“I’ve been smashed,” Matty tells Stab. “I was a bit run down after doing the Brazil comp then flying straight to Hawaii. Then I came down with a virus for a solid five days. It’s the sickest I’ve ever been.”
Initially it was thought that Matt was suffering from Dengue Fever after a mosquito bite in Brazil, “but it would have lasted way longer… so, I just had a viral infection. I only went to the doc today.”
Matty’s still not sure whether he’ll be well enough to compete at Sunset, which lights up on November 24.
“The earliest I’d have to surf would be the 26th, but I’ve been here eight days and only surfed twice because I’ve been so sick. We’ll see, I’m going to try and get a bit of fitness back in the next few days and make up for lost time in the water.”
But even if he can muster the strength, making a few heats at Sunset is relatively inconsequential.
“I didn’t really need to do the Triple Crown, I was already locked in after the Azores back in September, but then consolidated my points with that last result in Brazil. I’m pretty safe now. I’d have to get into the semis at Sunset to better my lowest result.”
Besides Matty, it looks like Julian Wilson has saved his 2014 campaign with a couple of key Prime results. Adam Melling, another Aussie on the bubble, looks like he’ll also be back in ’15. Jules sits at fifth and Melling sixth. Matty Wilkinson, 24th on the World Tour and 13th on the ‘QS, needs to do something at Sunset or Pipe if he’s going to stay on tour. And then there’s Jack Freestone, who’s been relatively quiet lately, but is lingering at 14th – a finals berth at Sunset could propel him onto the tour.
For Matt, all he can do is rest and try to recover in time to ensure that he’s ready to go when the West Bowl rumbles. Ask any athlete and they’ll tell you that sometimes you just have to play through the sweats, but with a little luck Australia’s best hope for a 2015 world tour rookie will be ready to go come game time at Sunset.
With youthful optimism on his side, Mr Banting adds, “I’m finally starting to feel a bit better today, so we’ll see how things go the next few days.”
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