THE key, Matt Banting says, to his return to the World Surf League’s top 34 is quite simple – be carefree and the rest looks after itself.
And so far, so good.
Banting will continue the long road back to the top of the world surfing tree when he heads to Japan next week for the 2018 Ichinomiya Chiba Open.
The Port Macquarie product has had a quiet eight week period since his top three finish at Manly and the underlying factor?
Fun and enjoyment. They go hand in hand.
“I feel like my surfing is better than it was a few years ago,” Banting said.
“I’ve just got to keep moving forward and try to get on the CT next year so then I can get some good prizemoney and keep living the dream.”
That dream he speaks of seemed a lifetime away when injury forced him off the tour more than 12 months ago.
He doesn’t want to reflect on what went wrong, instead preferring to focus on what he can do better.
“It’s no good living in the past or living too far in the future,” he said.
I’ve got to keep hungry and keep the same attitude I’ve got right now.Matt Banting
“I’m just doing everything I can day to day where I give myself the best chance to go well. I’ve got to keep hungry and keep the same attitude I’ve got right now.
“Just keep on having fun, having a laugh and not getting too serious because everything was going to plan when I was having fun.”
Banting was satisfied with his performances at Surfest in Newcastle and at the Manly Pro in February and March.
While he had created a little bit of momentum from those results, the break since those events had come at a good time.
“It’s always good to rest the body and have a break and reset,” he said.
“It’s pretty hard to go back to back to back with competitions, but I was happy to get a third [place] in one of my first comps back in Manly and it’s a key result for the end of the year ratings.
“If I can do that another four times I’ll be on the CT next year.”
After Japan, Banting could compete in up to five events in six months to finish the year.
“I’ve got a trip to Ballito over in South Africa on June 25 and then about July 28 I’ve got the US Open over at Huntington Beach,” he said.
Banting has had plenty of success at the US Open over the years.
It’s no good living in the past or living too far in the future.Matt Banting
“I’ve spent a lot of time over there with a lot of mates and had a third, a semi-final, a couple of quarter-finals and I won a world pro junior event,” he said.
“I’ve got a good strike record and feel pretty comfortable over there with all my mates and everything.”
After Huntington Beach, Banting will head to Spain, Portugal and Hawaii throughout September and October.
“There is a bit of travelling in the back half of the year,” he said.
“The goal is to get back on the tour and a few more results like Manly I’ll be looking like getting back there so that’s the goal.”