Do a tide check report. This is the most crucial part because this will let you know what time is best for you to get out there and surf, so you aren't out there when it is as flat as a bathtub. Make sure you look for low tide, this is normally better, but it isn't always the case. If you have time take a look online and see what it is like surfing in your area at a certain time.
If you get to the ocean and see that the waves are perfect and you want to go in, then you must be patient in learning when the best time is to paddle out. You should normally wait to paddle out in between sets, and after the last wave of the last set. This is because if you go out in the middle of a set, you will have to battle every wave out there, which will waste your time and energy.
Remember, that once you are out there the waves you catch mean that you will have to paddle back out. So, this means that you should pay attention to the number of waves in a set so you can catch the last or near to the last waves of the set, this way you will have a smooth way to paddle back after you are done riding your perfect wave. You will not have to worry about being exhausted, and can quickly start preparing for your perfect wave.