For Impact


The Riptide Syndrome

Blog | | Tom Suddes

A few weeks ago, I mentioned walking Major (my black Lab). I caught a little static from my daughter Meghan, who is the Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach at Wake Forest (her PASSION and she’s one of the BEST coaches in the world).

You see, Major was a ‘rescue’ Lab that Meghan saved 7 or 8 years ago. At one point in life, it was difficult for Meghan to keep Major in her rental unit. Sooooo, he came to stay with us at Eagle Creek with 50 acres to roam and great food. He decided to stay. Since he doesn’t leave my side, he’s become ‘MY’ Lab. (But he still loves Meghan.)

What does this have to do with ‘RIPTIDE’? It reminded me of a story I wanted to share about Meghan and surfing.

Meghan spent two years at University of San Diego (along with her sister, Kerry).

Meghan surfed as often as she could. One morning she was surfing north of KONO, as always ‘pushing her envelope’. As the waves became larger, she found herself tumbling under a huge breaker. Her ankle strap came off … and her surfboard was carried into shore.

One of the traits I most admire about Meghan is her ‘cool under pressure’. Although she didn’t panic, she was experiencing a new sensation that she didn’t really understand … ‘THE RIPTIDE SYNDROME’.

Between waves, she tried to swim towards shore, but soon realized she was getting nowhere. The ‘RIPTIDE’ was pushing her out … and no matter how hard she tried; she couldn’t make any progress towards the shore (her goal).

Luckily, her friend and surfing partner, Phil, saw that she had lost her board and that she was struggling. He came over, and realized right away they were caught in a ‘RIPTIDE’. From experience, he knew to get out of the current pushing them away from the beach … by swimming parallel with the shore!

They moved north a hundred yards or so, and, together, they rode his board in.


  1. THE ‘RIPTIDE SYNDROME’ catches us all. Instead of fighting it (as Meghan learned that day), all she had to do was swim parallel with the shore for a relatively short distance … and then she could easily swim to the beach.ACTION: Often we find ourselves fighting ‘Riptides’. We need to CHANGE the way we look at things … look for different solutions when the ‘same old, same old’ just doesn’t work.

    “We can’t solve present day problems with solutions from the past.”

    Albert Einstein

  2. Go with the ‘FLOW’. Sometimes, it just makes no sense to fight the inevitable. Face the brutal facts. Deal with them. Find the ‘FLOW’.
  3. ALWAYS SURF WITH A PARTNER! While risk/adventure/experience is wonderful, unnecessary risks (or attempts) without having the backup and support system in place is foolhardy.

    Phil was Meghan’s support system (partner) that day. (THANK GOODNESS!)

    Who do you have to provide support/coaching/back-up???