With less than a month until the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro QS6,000 event lands on Manly Beach, many of the world's best surfers are gearing up to make a splash in Sydney's biggest surf event.
With 6,000 QS points up for grabs, an estimated 220 surfers from over 20 different countries are expected to kick off their 2018 campaign in style when the event gets underway from 24 February - 4 March.
Someone who is accustomed to taking victories in Manly is 23-year-old Matt Banting - who at just 17 - made worldwide news back in 2012 when he not only claimed victory in the QS 6,000, but also the Pro Junior division at the Australian Open of Surfing.
After spending the last 12-months recovering from a pelvic injury, Banting is eager to get back to the location that cemented him as one of the world's best and put him on the pathway to qualifying for the WSL Championship Tour in 2015.
"I think I've been pain-free since October 2017 and since then I've been focused on getting back to the level I was surfing at previously," said Banting. "I think I was beginning to get a bit flustered by a lot of the pressure of being on tour back in 2016 and I probably took on too much. Now, I'm more focused on improving my own surfing and hopefully getting a few good results in 2018."
"Winning in Manly back in 2012 is still one of the fondest memories I've ever had from professional surfing. I've actually started watching a lot of clips from events in Manly over the last few years and the waves have been really similar to home in previous years, so hopefully, it's similar in 2018 and I'm prepared when the event kicks off."
Banting will make his complete competitive return in the upcoming Vissla Great Lakes Pro pres. by D'Blanc before going into the Burton Automotive Pro and finally the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro at Manly.