If you train the low brace, you will get it in the water many times before you have your ear to the water. Its just a matter of pratice and quickening your reflexes. After a while it just comes out without thinking. If your ear is to the water, no a low brace will not work. In that situation, I use the high brace, skulling to the back deck and finish off like a roll ala EJ's rolling and bracing. Since you are in the water, you don't have the major pressure on the arm/should like coming down on it while still in the air. Lots o' disagreement on EJ's technique, but damn it works and you don't go under, and can jump back immediately into an agressive position ready to take a forward stroke.