One thing that has helped me enormously and has bailed me out a few times is the ability to scull. I almost came out of my boat once - out of position and slammed back over with some surf so I just sculled up. Now I could take a few breaths, get my composure and roll up. Breathing is more important than getting upright immediately. Unfortunately there's not much emphases on it with traditional teaching methods. For me it's a strong asset in my skills.
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