When the weather forecast is a Strong Wind Warning I usually have to amend my weekend paddling plans. While some sheltered areas of Moreton Bay might never experience those predicted high winds I am usually not that fond of paddling in sheltered mangrove cluttered shores.
I don't have the skills nor the desire the be pushing into the wind for hours to complete a long crossing but I still want to paddle.
When the local wind gauges read around 25-35 knots I know that I can still safely paddle in locations on the bay with onshore winds. If wind direction is right, I try to pick an area where the tidal flow will create opposing forces and possibly small standing waves that can be surfed in a sea kayak.
There is a difference between ocean swell and wind waves. Ocean waves tend to have longer faces while wind waves tend to be faster and closely spaced together with a shallower through. Some kayaks with a long hull that don't have a lot of volume in the bow and too little rocker in the keel tend to bury the nose a bit when faced with tidal/wind waves. I found that the best suited kayaks for those conditions are short fish-form hulls where maneuverability prevails over cruising speed.
The latest addition to my fleet, despite not intended as a cruising kayak, has a hard chined hull of slight swede form that requires more attention to surf successfully. I find that, if to be kept on track, I have to work harder on my skills than, let's say, in my high volume bow Mockpool.
It appears that most Valley sea kayaks (not the Rapier) seem to excel in those conditions while higher speed hull boats (longer) don't exactly shine there.
To catch the fast waves I have to time my acceleration carefully. The fist wave in the set helps me to get speed (at 1:45) but I usually can't ride it. The second wave, which follows very closely, needs to be caught with the maximum exertion from my strokes.
It is possible that paddling with traditional paddles requires a modified technique than using a Euro blade. I also tend to give myself a final push with the jolt of my body (at 2:28) to be able to catch some waves that otherwise I would not have the speed to propel myself along the face of it.
A few hours trying to ride short tidal wind waves usually leaves me tired enough to call it a day.
Riding waves is probably the only situation that leaves me anaerobic when sea kayaking. Since I don't really enjoy a fast paced sprint paddle on flat water, I regard sea kayak surfing a real exercise that pushes me physically. I just wish I would do it more often.