Dangers - Hard Bottoms
While surfing, there is something below you, that is the sea floor. It can be sand, coral, rock, or a mix of any or all of them. In a bad wipe out, you can come in contact with them, if you keep some things in mind you can minimize your risk of getting hurt.
Danger Rating: 2
This is the ideal bottom when surfing, however it may not be the best when it comes to the shape of the wave. If you go down hard, you will not get all torn up, just shell-shocked a little. Sand bottoms are also easy to walk out on, no need for booties. Keep an eye out for shallow spots though where the wave may all of a sudden wall up. Breaks like this include Del Mar, La Jolla, and many others in San Diego.
Danger Rating: 9
Ow, you don't want to go down hard on this unless you have some protection. Generally found at reef-breaks, waves tend to be the best at these breaks. This is why you have to have some experience when surfing these breaks, so you do not eat it while being intimidated by looking at the reef right below you.
Booties, a wetsuit, and headgear will protect you fairly well, but on a nice, summer day you can't be wearing these things. Conclusion: be careful and watch where and how others surf. Some nice breaks like this are Windansea and Cardiff Reef, but they don't have any coral. Coral likes the warmer waters like Hawaii.
Danger Rating: 6
By rocks we do not mean little rocks that wearing booties can overcome, we are talking nice sized boulders. While not everywhere in San Diego, they are in some places including Baja and near PB Point. Just make sure you know where they are as they can be just under water when the tide is high.
A good thing to do is check it out at low tide, if you have the time to spare, that way you know where the dangers spots are. There is nothing that sucks more than paddling out or in and running aground on Plymouth rock, puts a nice hole in your board I tell ya. You can even screw up your hand while paddling out and swinging your hand right into a sharp rock.