I think if you grow up surfing reef breaks, they don't worry you as much. I only surfed beachbreaks and rock reefs, which I agree don't intimidate as much. How much do you guys spend scoping out new spots before paddling out? A while back I paddled out at Avellanas a little to the South of everyone to stay away from the main crew until they warmed up to me - it was firing and I was too pumped to waste time on the beach. I surfed on a peak there for about an hour before moving over to one of the main peaks. The next day I came back at low tide, and right under where I was surfing were hideous lava spikes. Some must have been within a foot or less of the surface. Since then, I'm a bit paranoid about researching the bottom and talking to the locals before surfing reef.