-- Last Updated: Feb-01-13 10:26 AM EST --
I think I have this right... what you are saying is that there is one side (doesn't matter which one) that you will always try to come up on in a real capsize, even though in pool practice you have good success at both sides.
I suspect that the side you go to in the real thing is the side that you first learned. It is at least the one for which your habits are the most automatic, what you will do if you don't pause to think about it.
This is a common habit, and for people who don't mess around in surf of current they can get away with it for a long time. Unfortunately in those two situations side can matter, making a roll more difficult or maybe impossible. So as you are finding, it'd work better if you could choose the best side.
I'd suggest two things. One is that you need to practice pausing for a moment rather than going immediately to setup and roll. Just get to the deck of the boat so you are relatively secure and stop. Then figure out what clues work for you to choose the right side to roll up on. It might be feeling the direction of the water flow, or maybe you can open your eyes and look around, but you need to find something.
The other is to just spend more time rolling on the side that you tend to avoid in a real capsize, so your unconscious response is truly ambidexterous.
One thing that the WW folks have done with me in pool practice seemed to solve this issue for straightforward current. They stood in the pool and actually stopped me from coming up on one side or the other, gradually mixing it up so that I could randomly be blocked on either side. This was especially good for me because I don't open my eyes under water - it was all feel. I got pretty good at feeling the resistance and deciding to go to the other side.
FWIW, I don't think this is a piece of cake especially in surf. I personally have yet to manage this second part in surf myself, that after I recover pretty much all my rolling skills again. Been away from it. The best I got to was to wait until after the sinus flush to go for the roll. Being sure what side to pick after that had thus far evaded me.
As to the idea of giving up on a brace to get more rolling time.. I personally don't like that, because being really secure in a brace can improve your chance at ultimately rolling. In current, if you can stay on the surface and partially up until you are at a speed that is equalized with the current, it becomes much easier to come up on the "wrong" side.