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Matt Banting

Life has gone quick, says 20-year-old surfer Matt Banting. So has the Australian surfer’s rise toward the World Championship Tour.

Towering atop the surfing world’s Qualifying Series ranking with just five events left in the year, Banting should easily finish in the top-10 and qualify for his first-ever turn on the World Championship Tour.

“It is every kid’s dream to be there,” Banting tells Edge from his home in Australia. “I signed a new contract with Quiksilver and they wanted me to qualify in the next three years. I’ve [almost] done it in the first year. It is something I’ve wished for since I was six, always dreaming of being on there. It is a weird feeling, actually.”

The rise to the top of the qualifying ranks has come with a pair of wins in the first seven of the 12-event series. “With the wins, it has given me a lot of confidence, and I keep on the same routine to help me win,” he says. “Being number one does come with a bit more pressure to keep up the results.”

Having a few wildcards into events, though, has given Banting some extra reps with the big names. Surfing against the likes of Kelly Slater twice gave him a taste that helped him climb the qualifying ladder. It has also, he believes, given him an edge for when he makes the Championship Tour.