Stab Magazine | Matt Banting On His Return To Form, Being (Mostly) Sponsorless, And Plans For the Future

Season finale of How Surfers Get Paid drops Thursday, 5pm PT


Matt Banting On His Return To Form, Being (Mostly) Sponsorless, And Plans For the Future

Plus another compilation clip from his last 12 months!

style // Aug 27, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Matt Banting is frequently reported as one of the world’s best unsponsored surfers – it happened on this site less than a week ago. The one time Quiksilver stickered surfer from Port Macquarie had his debut on the tour in 2015, succumbed to injury and made a half-return in 2016 and consequently fell off. 

Shortly after he lost his longtime sponsor, Quik, and an ongoing injury keeping him out of the water for months, landlocked in his coastal home of Port Mac. 

This year, Matt has a good chance of qualifying again; he’s currently 7th on the QS, and judging from his recent output of clips is in fine form to continue his winning streak through the remainder of the year. 

Since he’s been relatively off the grid for the past few year, we caught up with Matt to talk about what’s changed for him post-Quik, his gameplan for requalification and a bunch of other stuff we typically ask surfers in interviews. 


We might see no. 94 back on the CT soon, although it’ll be without the Quik sticker.



Stab: It’s looking good for you at the moment Matt, sitting inside the top 10, are you a little stressed?

Matt Banting: A little bit yeah, even everyone around town keeps saying I’m in a good spot and it’s such early days. Got a lot more to go towards the back half of the year.

Have you changed your approach at all since 2015, 16 and the injuries?

I definitely have. Last year was my first full year back competing, but I was fortunate that I was given an injury ranking at 66th spot so I didn’t have to start again, which helped a lot. But with my approach, I know now how much more seriously I have to take it. Back when I qualified in 2014, and then the years after I was floating along getting good money from my sponsors and wasn’t too concerned, now I’ve taken a much more focused approach

Surfing on the CT is where I want to be.

How’s it been trying to do this without a main sponsor?

I was self funded last year, but this year I’ve had a little bit of backing from some brands [Matt recently penned a little deal with Peak wetsuits], I had a local credit union approach me as well and they’ve sort of being my main funding at the moment. I’m looking to put a sticker back on my nose though. 

So you’ve 100% recovered from injury? 

What I had was called oseto pubis, and I had it in my right hip flexor – so my back leg when surfing. It was constantly inflamed. As soon as I surfed it felt like a knife going into me. I didn’t surf for nine months, lost Quiksilver as a sponsor in that time and then had a long path to trying to get back to where I was, the CT. 

I still have an exercise routine in the morning. I go to the gym about four or five times a week too and then try to surf at least a few times in a day if there’s waves. It’s an injury that could return so I want to make sure I’m on top of it and try and protect myself from being out of the water for that long again. 

Now when I go to the gym I’m doing exercises with proper form and educating myself on what will flair the injury up. Because going to hard at the gym a few years ago was sort of what caused the injury in the first place. 

There was a point in time where I doubted whether I would ever surf to the same level again and contemplated just throwing it away and make money being a tradie, but I’m glad I persisted. 

And you’re back on social media after a while off there during your injury.

Yeah, being a professional surfer you’ve got a lot of people who want to weigh in on your surfing, comment negative shit on your posts all the time and that stuff really used to get the better of me. Now I realise whose opinions matter and who doesn’t. If I went through a random person’s page who started to get to me I’d realise it looked like they’re doing nothing, and people curate their pages to look good [laughs]. 

So hopefully you make it on the CT this year, but if you don’t what’s the plan moving forward?

I’ll be trying for a couple of years, slogging it out. But I won’t be one of those QS warriors still trying in their mid 30’s, if it doesn’t happen by then I’ll have to pursue another avenue. There comes a point in time when you need to realise you’re not cut out, and you don’t want to be one of those blokes who make it on and get knocked straight back off the next year.

The guards are changing now with Mick, Parko, and Kelly [Ed. note: maybe] all moving on I’m hoping I’ll be able to be a part of that changing. It’s all up in the air now. A lot of the guys on the CT are people I competed with for years on the junior series. You have your Johns, Filipes and Gabs right at the top, but outside the top-5; it’s open.

Watch Matt’s latest compilation of clips up above filmed around home, France, Portugal and South Africa over the past 12 months.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Take Stab’s 2023 Audience Survey, Win A 3-Board Quiver

Stab towels and Premium subscriptions also up or grabs.

Mar 21, 2023

Jessi Miley Dyer On The New Challenger Series Schedule And More

Did you know that you could miss the mid-year cut and still theoretically win the…

Mar 20, 2023


Don’t Miss The Last Wave Of The First 2023 SEOTY Entry

Jacob Willcox's ‘Into Dust’ demands your pupils.

Mar 20, 2023

Warren Smith on New Welcome Rivers Range and Buying Jaguars on Facebook Marketplace  

Now available in the Antipodes...

Mar 20, 2023


Wavegarden Spills How The Sausage Is Made

BTS of their global air wave rollout ft. Yago Dora, Dion Agius, Reef Heazlewood and…

Mar 18, 2023

Minds, Machines, And The Magic Of Hands

How modern shapers split their time between designing files and hand-finishing boards.

Mar 18, 2023


Are Hectic Lefts The Final Finless Frontier?

William Aliotti is on the right-foot-forward fringes.

Mar 17, 2023

Watch: Luke + Eddie

A mostly unknown, on-duty lifeguard won the most prestigious big-wave event in history. How Luke…

Mar 17, 2023


A Pipe Master, Ryan Burch, And Some Pickle Forks On The Eastern Seaboard

This one ticks a lot of boxes

Mar 16, 2023

Brazil Has A Talent Problem

And three other things we learned from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Mar 16, 2023


Mick Fanning On A Unicorn, Bags Of Dicks, And A Shocking Script Read By Surfing’s Biggest Stars

Vaughan Blakey and Nick Pollet on their outrageous film, 'The Greatest Surf Movie In The…

Mar 15, 2023

Italo Ferreira Caught 63 Waves In An Hour

And other stats from our Stab in the Dark production.

Mar 15, 2023


Can A Freesurfer Go The Other Way? A Dakoda Walters Case Study

The 57-kilo Aussie has taken a Stab High approach to traditional contest surfing.

Mar 15, 2023

Caity Simmers And João Chianca Fulfill Respective Prophecies Under Gaze Of Portuguese President

A very good day of competitive surfing.

Mar 14, 2023

Kelly And Steph Are In Trouble

What's a GOAT gotta do to make the cut around here?

Mar 14, 2023


“I Used To Only Surf Here With One Guy…His Name’s Henry, And He’s A Seal”

A contemplation on the frigid desolation of Iceland.

Mar 14, 2023

World #1 Carissa Moore Vanquished By Front Pad Toting Wildcard, Lucky Few Get Supertubed

‘Go hard or go home, innit’ 

Mar 13, 2023

Hungover Hold-Downs, Patent Feuds, And One-In-A-Million Malfunctions Involving 11x World Champs: The Story Of Surfing’s Inflatable Vests

These things changed the game.

Mar 13, 2023