- WSL / Thomas Bennett
- WSL / Thomas Bennett

As the globe continues to wonder when things will return to some semblance of ‘normal,' competitive surfers are also waiting to see when they'll be able to get back in a jersey.

Isolation with Matt Banting
Catch up with the current QS rankings leader as he isolates at home on Australia's East Coast.

A QS competitor whose career has faced plenty of uncertainty over the last 5 years is current rankings leader, Matt Banting. Banting was a childhood prodigy who reached the pinnacle of competition with a place on the CT, only to have it taken away by a career-threatening pelvic injury in his rookie season. A few years and a few niggly injuries later, and Banting started 2020 looking destined to return to the ‘Dream Tour' -- until COVID struck.

That good start included a win at the Vissla Central Coast Pro, a runner-up at the Sydney Surf Pro and an equal 5th at Surfest Newcastle Pro. The WSL caught up with the Qualifying Series No.1 while he enjoys some down time around his home of Port Macquarie, on Australia's East Coast.

How has it been dealing with this global shutdown when you had such an amazing start to the season?

MB: "I'm just trying to take it as it comes. It is really unfortunate to be leading the QS only to have it all put on hold but we are in the same boat and have been put out of our natural daily routine. We all just need to now do our bit to try and get this thing over an done with and be back to normal as soon as we can."

Matt Banting on Day 7 of Newcastle Surfest Pro pres. by Burton Automotive Matt Banting had near to the best start to the year you could hope for before the QS was put on indefinite hold. - WSL / Thomas Bennett

**What's the lockdown situation in your part of the world?

MB: "We've been really lucky in Australia to still be able to surf and go to the beach. The increased numbers in the water has been pretty hectic because no one is at work, but I definitely can't complain. I talk to friends in other parts of the world who can't surf so I feel lucky to get to do what I love. Especially at this time of year -- there are so many great waves to get around home."

That's good to hear! So have you been able to chase down some decent waves?

MB: "We've been chasing waves up and down the coast near home. There are so many nooks and crannies with perfect set ups and hardly anyone out, so it's been fun banking clips and filming with my dad. He will still spend three hours straight on the beach filming me, which is awesome. He's turning 65 and still shows a lot of dedication to me which I'm thankful for."

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