If you have lost your balance big time and you don't have the time to perform a low brace, the next step before eskimo roll is to do a high brace. Just like a low brace, a high brace can be done in great variety of ways. The technique that suits you best depends on how badly you have fallen and in what starting position you are. The high brace can also be applied when you need to lean against a big wave that tries to push you over.
First we will learn to do the high brace by using a simple draw/sweep stroke and then add a sculling to make the brace last longer. But if you haven't yet read the chapter Recovery basics then back you go. You will need to master those skills first.
The name "high brace" is a bit misleading, since just like when doing the low brace, you should try to keep your hands as low as possible and the paddle as horizontal as possible. Be prepared for numerous wet exits while practising.
For beginning, keep the regular forward paddling grip of your paddle and keep the paddle close to your body. Note that you should be able to control the kayak precisely with your feet, so make sure that your knees touch the deck and heels are firmly against the bottom. This will also prevent you from falling out of the kayak while you are sideways in water.
Lean to the side until you start to fall. Wind your upper body slightly so that you will turn your back a bit towards the surface. Winding your upper body this way allows you to use it later as a main force for the brace and also makes it possible to do a bigger sweep with your paddle.
Keep your paddle above the water. Wait until you splash against the surface and your upper body loses most of its momentum. This way all the little support that paddle brace can give is used for the recovery part instead of just slowing down the fall. Try also to keep the paddle as horizontal as possible and turn it so that the blade on the side you are falling is power face towards the water.
Since your hands and shoulders could be exposed to a heavy pressure in quite unusual positions, it is necessary to keep them as close to your body as possible. Start to unwind your upper body and pull the blade down against the surface. This will create a supporting force you can lean against. But since it is not going to last forever, you need to do the following steps quite fast.
When your upper body is half sunken into water, it is also lighter and therefore doesn't need so much support from your paddle brace. Now it is a good moment to straighten the kayak first. Keep your upper body in water and keep pulling the paddle against the water. Do the flick with your hips to push the kayak back upright.
After the kayak starts to righten, pull your upper body out of the water quickly and keep pressing the paddle down. Again, think of it more as if you were pulling the kayak back underneath you, rather than pushing yourself back over the kayak. Your head should come out of the water last. Since the operation is lighter if you can keep your body close to the kayaks centre, it is a good idea to lean towards the back deck if possible.
Sometimes the paddle stroke does not give you a brace that lasts long enough. What happens is that the support vanishes and the blade starts to sink under the water. Then you should quickly bring the blade up to surface by slicing the blade through water. After the blade is back to surface, start to sweep it horizontally back and forth against the surface and remember to keep the blade in a rising angle towards its direction. The principle of this technique is very much the same as when doing the sculling draw that is taught in chapter Moving sideways. Leaning towards the stern will make things easier. And if everything is done properly, you could continue sculling for as long as you like.
Keep practising and fooling until you master the high brace well enough on both sides. High brace is also a big part of doing an eskimo roll, so learning it next should not be too hard.