Matt Banting has claimed his first WSL Qualifying Series (QS) victory since 2014, taking out childhood friend, rival and fellow unsponsored surfer Cooper Chapman in the final of the 2019 Mothernest Great Lakes Pro.
Banting put on a solid clinic of surfing over the duration of the event, however the natural-footer hit his stride in the final posting two excellent scores, a 9.00 and an 8.00 to amass a giant 17.00 two-wave heat total. The win at Tuncurry puts Banting's qualification campaign into full-swing as he comes into the Vissla Central Coast Pro, Burton Automotive Pro and the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro at Manly.
"Cooper and I have had a rivalry since we were in the Under-12s and Under-14s, so we're always super eager and keen to beat each other," said Banting. "After a four-or-five year hiatus from winning, I came into January 1st 2019 and said to myself that it's game on. It feels like a few of the sacrifices of turning down parties and the opportunity to go out is beginning to pay off. To also get pumping surf for the duration of the event makes it so much sweeter. I feel like I can go into the QS3000 and the QS6000 events now knowing that I can do better."
Despite runner-up Cooper Chapman's start in the 2019 Mothernest Great Lakes Pro being in doubt only two days ago due to illness, the northern beaches native rose above the aches and pains to seal a spot into the final alongside Banting. Chapman's goal of claiming his maiden QS victory was ultimately derailed, but nevertheless, the natural-footer is leaving the Great Lakes with his head held high.
"This was a great event and the surf was pumping the whole time, so it was nice to get a few wins and get the ball rolling on 2019," said Chapman. "It was nice to share a final with Matty as it's been a while since we had one together, so hopefully we can begin to steamroll into the rest of the year. I think we both showed our maturity in this event being one and two seed and hopefully, we can both build on it."
The AirAsia Wave Of The Day was awarded to Chapman for his dominant performance throughout the event.