Surf fly fishing is a lotta fun.... I mean a REAL lotta fun.
Big fish, crashing waves, wide open spaces.
It's important to be safe and have the right gear, but the fish are often in close to feed just as you suspect and when they are, they're hungry. Often the fish are right at your feet.
Being able to read the water is just as important as it is with trout fishing and maybe even more-so as the gamefish have plenty of room to spread out.
You need to be able to recognize currents and structure and understand how these are constantly changing with the tides.
Understanding the various baits is important, but the flies that imitate them can be very simple. The proper size and profile. Deep, mid, and top water just about covers it all.
Here's a primer on gear and if you use the search funtion you'll find quite a few posts on the subject.
Gear for fly fishing the surf