Great input everyone.
My first thought, if you were out in 8 to 10 footers, is that you misjudged their actual height. 8 to 10s on Lake Michigan are MEAN.
Hopefully I won't be in 8-10 footers for a few seasons. I delivered the boat from Chicago to Milwaukee in a small craft advisory (motoring). The waves were probably 5 foot, but they looked plenty big to me.
Is it possible to look ahead a few waves to plan which spot is best to aim for, or does the profile of the wave front change too quickly to make a difference? (maybe to avoid what looks like could be a breaking wave)
Is it the same idea going downwind? Square-up the stern to the wave as you approach the peak, then head back up to your course? (ie:go over the peak perpendicular to the wave)