"If it was just a flat water race and I was being assisted by rudders to maintain course then yes a High angle stroke would be the most efficient stroke to use but I 'm yet to see a paddler in any boat have enough control on an average day on the ocean to stay in that high angle stroke 100% of the time"
Here's a few examples of fantastic rotated forward stroke 98% of the time, on the ocean on an above average day:http://vimeo.com/17332268
- watch after about 1:30http://vimeo.com/16923178
- again, watch after about 1:30
There are plenty of others. This isn't flat water, nor is it unidirectional, & these boat are way more demanding than any sea kayak in the market, yet these guys pretty much universally paddle with a great rotated stroke, which coincidentally happens to be high angle. Why? Because most of them come through surf clubs or competitive paddlesports where they are coached from an early age. They are throwing in plenty of support strokes if you watch carefully, but forward stroke 98% of the time is a repeated form. True it's not 100%, but my point above was this:'Corrective strokes, supporting blended strokes etc can all be done at the angle that best saves your bacon or brings you back on course, & they should seamlessly blend with your forward stroke when you're in dynamic water. Forward stroke however, can only be done one way with very subtle variants if it's going to be efficient, both in terms of boat speed & biomechanics.'
In any sport there are people who do it there own way & succeed. It doesn't mean it's an easy thing to teach others & repeat. Bradman was incredibly unorthodox if you read the old reports & nobody has ever suggested that his technique was one that can be repeated & coached to kids.
My point about all of these skills is that learning a solid base of skills which involve good biomechanics allows you to improvise & develop other things in your paddling that work for you, like Stu, Dave & Larry. You're inevitably going to develop them from a base of good rotation, which is the absolute key to any form of paddling, and have far less chance of doing yourself repetitive strain injuries from poor technique.
In my own case I have improved out of sight in every single aspect of my paddling since I undertook some serious stroke correction, especially with my forward stroke. What I thought I was doing well was actually rubbish in the eyes of a real expert, in my case an Olympic kayaker who set me straight. I'm still battling away trying to hone the stroke, which is hard but enjoyable work. As I've said, the high/low angle thing is a bit of a furphy, what we really should be asking is 'are you rotating, or aren't you rotating, in your paddle strokes'?