what if you cant grab any reef in time? and its out of reach? best bet is to swim out to open instead of trying to fin towards the reef and tiring yourself for the attempt.
That is why he told us to stay close to the reef at all times. And stay away from the drop off. This was at Nusa Penida btw.
Staying close to the reef gives you 2 advantages. 1, it is easier for you to grab something and 2, you are more sheltered as the bigger hard corals break the full force of the down current.
I don't know, swimming out into the open ocean sounds extremely risky to me. First, you don't know the distance you need to swim out to be out of the force of the downcurrent. By the time you get out of its force, you might already be swept down many meters.
If you do that, you are also going to be separated from your buddy very quickly. That will definitely get your panic level up even higher.
If you are diving nitrox, ox-tox is going to be a real issue as you are finning hard.
As you swim away from rocky formations, the maximum possible depth you can go down increases.
Also, swimming towards the reef/wall to grab something is going to be much nearer than trying to swim out into the ocean. Some places where there are multiple islets directing the flow of the current, like at Nusa, swimming away from the reef might do more harm than good.
Just my thoughts, I've never personally experienced a downcurrent so take what I say with a big pinch of salt.