Meister a budding maestro at Pipeline


POSTED: Saturday, December 12, 2009

Torrey Meister is making the most of the Billabong Pipeline Masters. The 21-year-old Kona native advanced to Round 3 at the third jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. He narrowly beat Australian World Championship Tour surfer Kai Otton by negotiating the tubing 6- to 10-foot wave faces.

Meister has been on a roll since the opening day at the last contest of the 2009 WCT season. He entered the event as an alternate when six-time Vans Triple Crown of Surfing champ Sunny Garcia failed to make his heat on time.

Meister is sitting with a ninth-place finish at the Reef Hawaiian Pro and a fifth at the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing. And since Joel Centeio and Garcia aren't competing at the Billabong Pipeline Masters, Meister is Hawaii's lone hope for a local boy to bring home the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing championship.

“;I got lucky,”; said Meister of his surprise entry into the Billabong Pipeline Masters. “;Really fun and stoked to get in.”;

So far, this event has seen a lot of high-scoring rides on the right breaking wave of Pipeline called Backdoor. As a regular-footed surfer, Meister benefits from these rights because he's facing the wave when up and riding.

“;The waves are really good: sick Backdoor and just perfect conditions,”; said Meister of the highly contestable waves so far.

The young surfer is also benefiting from growing up on the Big Island, realizing that the treacherous barreling waves back home helped him prepare for this pro surf contest.

“;Banyans is one of those waves that teaches you how to do everything,”; said Meister about his home break. “;Some of the other slabs we have around Kona really help with surfing Backdoor.”;

With a 6- to 8-foot northwest swell forecasted, the Billabong Pipeline Masters will most likely resume competition today. When Meister competes again, he'll face 2008 world champ Mick Fanning. At the moment, Fanning is in a world title race with fellow Australian Joel Parkinson that will culminate at the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

Essentially, if Meister eliminates Fanning in the third round, he'll leave the world title door open for Parkinson. Yet, Meister also needs to advance higher than Parkinson to win the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title, the $50,000 Triple Crown bonus, and possibly another $50,000 bonus that will go to the Billabong Pipe Masters winner.

It's going to be a dramatic ending to an already stellar winter season, and Meister is undoubtedly a “;David”; going against a couple of Australian “;Goliaths.”; But, with nothing to lose and everything to gain Meister is a threat to Fanning, Parkinson and the rest of the competitors at the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

Meister and the third jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will be televised live on Oceanic Time Warner cable channel 250 and HD 1250, as well as a live web cast at triplecrownofsurfing.com.