Let’s say you’re in surf, and at the end of a ride you end up parallel to the beach (and the waves) when another big wave/breaker comes along and before you know it, try to capsize your boat towards the beach (lets say the beach is on your left, so that your boat is rotating counterclockwise about it’s longitudinal axis). Is it possible, or rather advisable to try to brace in this situation? You can’t really brace away from the beach because you’re already rotated in the other direction. You can try to brace on the beach side but because the boat is now rushing towards the beach, it seems that you would be spearing the water with the tip with water rushing from the tip towards the shoulder exerting pressure on the top face of the blade which would have an effect opposite of that which you want (i.e., adding further rotational force on your blade and hence, you and your boat). So I am left wondering, once you start to capsize towards the beach due to a surging wave, should you even try to stay upright or should you just tuck, hold tightly onto the paddle, and right yourself once the wave has passed assuming you are still in enough water to do so.
You pretty much can only brace on the ocean side. If you are so far unbalanced to the shore side that you would need to brace there, you are going to flip and start being window shaded. I would tuck and prepare for a roll, or protect my head in shallow water.
Putting a brace out such that the bracing paddle ends up on the ocean side when you are window shading can often cause you to re-right. Start the roll right after you flip over (but after the paddle would clear the bottom) and the pressure on the blade can pop you back up. Not good in shallow water where you body is whacking at the and or rocks.
There is a Greenland skill called the Walrus Pull which is somewhat similar to the bracing on land side. Basically a stroke that would be done if yo harpooned a walrus and it pulled you sideways (so the rope was trying to flip you over). But not sure it would work in a surf situation. Example of walrus pull:
You’re describing broaching which is surfing 101.
When the wave breaks you get broached. This is why experienced surfers try to get off the wave before it breaks. When you broach you will either turn left or right and become parallel to the wave. You want to brace against the foam. With a good enough brace you can stay upright even with another wave breaking on or near you. If you aren’t prepared or your brace isn’t good enough you can get flipped toward the shore. In that case if you’re really skilled you can use the rotational force to just go all the way around and come back up with little effort.
When you brace against the foam pile you have to “lean and believe.” DON’T go into a high brace. It’s better to just roll than risk an injury. Keep the paddle firmly in a low brace position, knuckles pointed down and elbows forming a box.edge the boat aggressively toward the foam, and believe. If you do it right you can ride out almost anything. Stay aware as the second the foam pile calms down, you’re going to be leaning/bracing way too far and can fall in on the foam side.
Bonus, if you’re good at this, you can rise up to the top of the foam pile and regain control of your boat, rather than just waiting it out.
Brace successfully on the wave side and you can side surf to the beach.
if you can’t regain balance and brace to the seaward side, then capsizing and rolling up to seaward is your best bet for recovery, as others have stated. Unless you have time before the next wave, in which case you can roll up whichever way you’re more comfortable. But seaward is preferable because it leaves you ready to brace on that side.