Matt Banting: the youngest at the Quiksilver Pro

Matt Banting will be the youngest ever surfer to receive a wildcard into the upcoming Quiksilver Pro, in the Australian Gold Coast. The sixteen year-old surfer from Port Macquarie, New South Wales has been steadily making a name for himself among the Aussie junior contingency whilst making a bigger presence in the global surf scene.

Banting won the Under 16 World Junior Surfing Championship, in New Zealand, and the Quiksilver King of The Groms title, in France. Hearing news of the coveted wildcard spot is the highlight of his surf career. "I was over the moon when I found out that I would be competing in the main event," said Banting." It’s the best thing I’ve ever heard. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed for as a young surfer coming through the ranks. I’m just stoked to get the opportunity."

The stylish natural footer has got a clear idea of what he wants to do in the Quiksilver Pro. "I just want to surf well, be relaxed and show everyone I can do it," he said. "There’s not too much pressure on me. I just want to have fun and surf well, and show everyone I can surf at this level."

Matt Banting will be testing the new 36-man format, with less surfers and more quality waves for everyone. "I really want to go up against Kelly (Slater), Parko (Parkinson) or Jordy (Jordy Smith). They have always been my idols and always looked up to them as a kid. I can’t wait."

Rounding out the 36-man draw at Snapper Rocks will be the winner of the 16-man trials, to be held on Friday 25th February. Former ASP World Tour surfers Dean Morrison and Tom Whittaker will lead a stacked field of potential giant-killers including Garret Parkes, French surfers Marc Lacomare and Maxime Huscenot, 2010 Snapper Rocks club champion Jay Phillips and the cream of the Gold Coast including Corey Ziems, Thomas Woods, Noah Lane, Mitch Crews and Chris Bennetts in the Quiksilver Pro Trials.

Morrison said he was pumped when he was informed of his spot in the trials. "I’m so happy," he said. "Hopefully the waves are fun and the other competitors don’t blow me out of the water too much. I’m a little nervous."