Flat water practice helps...
Posted by: t.george on Feb-01-13 8:00 AM (EST)
...but in the surf & more-so in rock gardens it's a very different experience as you now know. A couple of things to practice would be, rolling back up on the same side, set-up then switch to opposite side, pull spare paddle while under and roll up. I've had times when the current seems like it will support a recovery only to surge the opposite way at the moment of the attempt causing a fail; sometimes I've just waited for the current to shift back, other times moved to the opposite side. I generally find i want my set-up to be on the side of "positive pressure" or toward the flow if you get the drift. When I find myself on the "down flow" the stronger the flow the harder it is to switch against that flow to the "up flow" side. Make sure to turn the blades so they slice as you move from the down flow side to the up flow, a few times I've found myself doing upside down sculling type moves with the paddle to get to the set-up position. If the bow, stern or side of the boat is in contact with a feature you may need to set-up on the same side as the feature so you avoid trying to roll up & onto the feature,(whick will usually result in a failure). To accomplish rolling up on the same side as a feature you may need to first use your paddle to push off from it as you set-up so there's enough room for your sweep. Finally, when both sides of the boat are in contact with the feature, you're generally screwed IME and it's time to punch out & work toward a re-entry.
Just a few random firsthand observations from someone that has spent too much time under their boat; maybe I need more work on my bracing or to be more conservative. :)