Accessibility of the Break
Choose breaks that you can reach before tiring, thereby saving energy reserves for the main event of catching and surfing waves. Avoid a long paddle!
If legal and safe to do so, it might be possible to enter the surf from a boundary feature to shorten the paddle (eg: shoreline rocks, groynes, piers and harbour walls).
Sometimes you can identify channels in the surf where the wash is not rushing towards the shore. A channel may be calm or could be a rip current flowing seawards. These channels can be exploited to more easily reach the break (though can pose a danger to swimmers lacking surf equipment). Boundary features can cause these conditions, or they can arise naturally at intervals in a long shoreline.
Plenty of surf locations are safe but you should weigh the specific risks at each spot. Be aware of: tides and washes, potential currents, the form and composition of the seabed, localism, dangerous sea-life and any safety measures (eg: municipal lifeguards, nets and drum-lines). Consult sources of local information (eg: print/online surf atlases and guides, tourist bureaus, posted notices and other beach-goers).
Prefer clean and clear seawater. Dirty and polluted water can result from effluent and river outflows, particularly after rains. Swimming and surfing in this water can cause illnesses and heighten the risk an encounter with a shark (if swollen nearby rivers are capable of carrying dead animals out to sea).
Seasonal changes of climate and weather might result in sizable and consistent waves only at particular times of the year. The best surf season might not align with the warmest air and water temperatures, requiring a wetsuit and possibly booties/ hood/ gloves.
Interactions with sea-life might be seasonal (eg: I believe the jellyfish risk in tropical Australia is highest in summer).