Torrey Meister is one of those guys who everyone loves. He rips on anything and everything, on waves from knee-high to Jaws-high. From Big Island, Hawaii, he cut his teeth on slabby, weird waves with very sharp bottoms.
Recently, though, Meister had a terrifyingly close call at Manly Beach, Australia. During his heat at the Australian Open of Surfing, he nearly broke his neck. “On my second wave during my heat at the #australianopen,” he explained on Instagram, “I fell on a left and wacked the sand bar with my head. It was by far the hardest I’ve ever hit my head surfing in my life. Honestly I thought I was paralyzed when I first did it. I saw stars, heard my neck pop, and blacked out for a second.”[sic]
Luckily, Meister regained consciousness. The power had gone on and off a few times during the event, and his heat happened to be on hold when it happened. Dazed, he ran up to the contest doctor to make sure nothing serious happened. “The power came back as he was checking me out and I insisted on surfing the rest of my heat,” he continued. “The doctor didn’t feel anything abnormal or broken on my spine and there was no way I wasn’t finishing surfing my heat so I ran back out there. I tried to surf but I definitely wasn’t feeling my best and didn’t advance.”
For the next few days, Meister was in and out of the Manly Hospital running a battery of tests. “So far everything is great,” he wrote. “Mo broken bones or fractures but unfortunately, I have to wear this stupid neck brace for another week… wanted to thank the @wsl for having incredible doctors on hand to keep the surfers safe and insurance for the surfers to get proper treatment. Stoked to see surfing become a real sport with proper medical care. Moral of the story is to never underestimate the ocean and God is good it could have been much worse!”