PORT Macquarie’s Matt Banting didn’t surf that badly at the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal on Tuesday night at what some term the “European Pipeline”.
But in the end it was evergreen 44-year-old Kelly Slater who continued to defy his age to progress past Banting and fellow Aussie Stuart Kennedy into the third round.
Banting started well with an early score of 5.17 from an aerial manoeuvre which put him in the lead for the first half of the heat.
Currently ranked number 30 in the world, Banting surfed a total of 12 waves throughout the 30-minute heat, but he couldn’t compete with Slater in the second half of their heat eight match-up.
With the clock winding down, Slater also went to the air and landed a full rotation to pick up a nine-point ride from the judges.
Banting tried his best to make up the ground he lost, but it wasn’t to be.
Slater ended with a total of 15.83 while Banting slipped to second with a score of 10.77.
He will head into a round two match-up with Adrian Buchan on Wednesday night, weather and swell conditions permitting.