For a kayaker, it mostly provides the sort of gentle, barely breaking waves that you see in my video above. They're slow, easy & as consequence-free as you ever get on a paddle craft.
On a decent day however, it can be epic & every bit as demanding as a beach break.
Just after my eldest daughter was born in 2004, I went down in my old Inuit Classic for a surf on a day with a honking westerly, a genuine two metre long-pulse swell, and not another boat or surfer in sight. I had been doing a lot of surf kayaking in the years previous, and was very confident of my own abilities in the surf, even though I hadn't been in a sea kayak for a while (& consigned to the hurt locker the feeling of being thrashed in a boat with a much longer waterline for a breaking wave to grab & toss around). I cracked a couple of great long fast rides, then got a bit cocky & tried a surf-kayak turn & got well & truly dusted. Despite a super-reliable roll, I couldn't even get the boat to begin to rotate from it's capsized position, so had to wet exit.
The westerly pushed me & the boat back into the crunch zone & I held on while I got a couple of good floggings, slowly heading back over the break & out into the wider bay. I had three or four goes at a re-entry & roll & inexplicably still couldn't get the thing to move, tried a cowboy which was always doomed, and then watched the Bundeena Ferry chug past too embarrassed to ask for help even though I was cold & starting to tire, and the next stop was Jibbon Bombora, at best.
In a moment of rare clarity after another failed re-entry & roll I relaised I was trying to roll a hard-chined kayak against a twenty knot wind, so set up for an offside roll, which wind-assisted was successful first go. To give you an idea of how the cold can affect your thinking I didn't even consider turning the boat around & going to my strong side, which would have been a lot easier!
A chastened paddler then slowly paddled the couple of kilometres back to the beach at Bonnievale where as penance I forgot to pack my bestest surf paddle & lost it forever!
Thankfully, Sunday was the opposite, long, clear runs with just a couple of other guys out there on skis & outriggers, all waiting our turn & enjoying the blissful conditions. I'm reacquainting myself with my ski after concentrating pretty hard on training for the One Degree South paddle, and enjoying the freedom & simplicity of the boat, as I always have. We're planning on getting the cameras rigged up for an epic Bundeena Day as soon as one is in the offing, but for now enjoy it the way it mostly is, a cruisy play spot, one of my antidotes to the modern world…..