Not sure if there’s a question here…more like a couple of observations I’ll throw out if anyone cares to comment. Way back when, when I was taking intro kayak classes, we were taught the low and high brace. My memory is that these were taught as means to get back to a stable upright position after being knocked off balance. I’ve been paddling for a long time now, and I doubt I’ve done this type of brace (I’ll call it a reactionary brace) more than 10 times. Far more common, at least in my experience, is what might be called instead a preparatory brace, when you see something coming (often nearshore in breaking waves / surf) and you brace INTO it so as to avoid being pushed off balance in the first place. In terms of the brace itself, I would think that one difference between the two might be the type of brace performed. I have read somewhere on this board that a lot of instructors don’t even teach the high brace anymore (I believe it was stated that this is because it is more likely to result in shoulder dislocation). I however have used the high brace almost exclusively (I think because it can be performed at a greater heel angle) but am trying to be less reflexive about it and to become at least as comfortable with the low brace. I guess the low brace works fine for preparatory braces, but it seems to me that for reactionary braces, a high brace is more immediately available on those occasions when your paddle is moving through the water on the side of your boat opposite to the wave that is pushing you over (the forward stroke transitions very quickly into a high brace with just a slight shift in wrist angle and paddle trajectory), which is about half the time.
I guess if I did have a question, it would be if my experience (using preparatory braces far more often than reactionary braces) is consistent with others experience. Perhaps in my case it is because I have mostly paddled in protected areas (e.g., bays, estuaries), usually though not always in relatively benign conditions, and have never owned a twitchy boat.