When we were newer paddlers, our estimates of wave height and wind speed were quite unreliable. We simply didn't have enough experience to provide a frame of reference.
These days, we get a kick out of seeing how our estimates compare with hard data. Yesterday, we paddled out from the Wilson "launch ramps" (now the Mondog doggie beach) to the Montrose crib against quartering winds. Then we paddled directly into those winds back to Fullerton Avenue. We estimated that the winds were about 22 knots gusting to something like 28.
Sure enough, when we checked the data from the Harrison crib, the wind speeds at around 12:30 were 11.7 meters/second (23 knots) gusting to 13.9 meters/second (27 knots).
Because the wind was off-shore, the water was flat near the beaches. Three miles out, the waves were perhaps 2 to 3 feet.
Best of all, the sky was blue for one of the first times all month.