all that posting about j strokes got me interested in pry strokes as well and how different people use'm.
here's what I've noticed:
1.Lazy raft guides lay on the back tube and use'm in the pools as their main correction stroke for the flats. If they need a major correction- they pump the stroke with the shaft on the tube for additional leverage. They let the crew do all the forward paddling. A really accomplished raftguide can do this with a lit cigarette in his or her control hand and be telling a joke at the same time so the crew isn't thinking about how much it sucks to be paddling a barge in flatwater and why they're doin' all the work. (stern)
2.More motivated folk use it as a finisher on their forward stroke to keep the boat straight and help propel it simultaneously. (stern, solo)
3. To angle the boat, initiating or maintaining a ferry angle, eddy set, or turn. (bow, stern, solo)
4. To move the boat laterally away from a rock or other hazard. (bow, stern, solo)
5. as a last ditch brace stoke to keep from flipping over (solo)
My favorite place to use a pry was in the bow, in rockgarden situations when you needed to make a lot of last minute, quick lateral adjustments. Usually after finishing the quick prys I'd follow with some quick draws to help the stern paddler clear the same obstruction I was dodging with the pry.
I can't recommend it for shallow situations and you do need to be careful not to extend the paddle to far under the boat (which is exactly how you brace with it) unless you like to get catupulted but I really like the pry strokes power.
I'm a gunnel pumper, anything other than that always seems awkward to me and like I am just playin' at doin' the stroke. Of course my boats and paddles look like crap, mostly cause I draggem or throw them up on rocks, but I'm sure pryin' doesn't help either. I love the immediacy of the pry. I'm pretty sure I plant the paddle in front of me when I'm in the bow, a bit behind me in the stern, even more behind in a raft, and in a c1 its glued right at the hip. Where I do the stroke is also according to its function, not just placement in the boat. I rarely use the pry on flatwater other than in a raft but i can definately see how it could be used in windy conditions to maintain a bearing or course, or to line up with whitecaps and such.