Surfing teaches me a lot about life, but sometimes I am not sure exactly what it is.
I was surfing today and I got caught in a big rip tide, about 50 meters long.
Rip tides are an outgoing tide that end at some point, usually the swell size determines there length. They are characterized by rough churning water, without breaking waves, with a current going out to sea. Since there are no breaking waves, people that are unaware of rip tides are often attracted to these areas to swim and then theyíre often taken out to sea where they drown.
Since there are no breaking waves in a rip tide, as a surfer you canít simply catch a wave to shore if youíre caught in one. The only way to get out of a riptide is to let it take you out to sea and then paddle side shore until youíre out of the tide, then you can paddle or catch a wave to shore. However this can be counterintuitive when your life is literally on the line, but paddling directly towards shore, against the rip tide, is the worst thing you can do. Itís like paddling upstream against a fast flowing river.
If anxiety gets the best of you, thereís a tremendous amount of temptation to paddle against the tide because that looks like the fastest way to shore and safety, however going with the flow of the tide and letting it take you out to sea to what seems like danger, then paddling away from the tide, is the only way to shore and safety.
I think in the case of rip tides surfing taught me that anxiety and fear can be dangerous, and keeping a level head and thinking things through can save your butt.