Having someone along that can show you the ropes will certainly help get you up to speed---- but don't be afraid to get out there on your own too--- especially if no one is available to take you along.
I should also clarify a bit that there's a big difference between fishing the surf zone (with waves) and fishing "the inside"-- estuaries, the inside of inlets, river mouths and sheltered tidal flats where there tends to be more obvious structure and are generally a bit easier to fish.
The surf zone, especially along sandy beaches rather than rocky shore lines can be tough -- with a lack of permanent structure, fish tend to be highly mobile and the conditions you'll encounter of waves and wind can make fishing very difficult. Although there will be some structure along a sandy beach, it can often be subtle to the eye-- and may all change as a result of storms, wind/swell direction and tide/current stage etc. So unless you actually see fish crashing or birds screaming and diving over schools of baitfish, it can be hard to know where to begin when staring into the ocean. There's a lot of water-- most of it empty.
On the "About Beaches" page of Glenn Yoshimoto's zenflyfishing site mentioned in an earlier post there is a hyperlink to "Finding Fish" about halfway down the page-- if you click on that it'll take you to some useful info about reading a beach and identifying areas by patterns of wave breaks that are more likely to hold fish than other sections of beach because they will tend to funnel bait. Like fishing for trout in streams, often the best places to target are the seams where two different speeds (or directions) of current meet.
Here's some more info for you about reading a beach-- although originally written for surfcasters on the east coast targeting drum and stripers, the same info applies to fly fishers fishing the surf zone in CA for surf perch. Learn to recognize sloughs/troughs, bars, cuts and holes and you'll be well on your way to identifying the 10% of a beach that is likely to be the most productive.
Reading the water...
These structures may only appear at certain stages of tide, (it is often best to read a beach at lowest tide for future reference), but the best fishing usually occurs when the water is moving rather than slack.
Structure tends to be much more obvious when fishing inside, in more sheltered waters out of the surf zone (in estuaries, inlets, river mouths, flats in the delta etc.) or off points and jetties. If there are no local fly shops in the area, a bait and tackle shop (or weekly fishing mag) might be a good way to find out about easily accessible, wadeable areas for light tackle fishing-- for people tossing 1 oz plugs or bucktails or fishing cut bait for surf perch using 8-9' rods (rather than the bigger rods used in the high surf for distance)---- these are often the same types of spots that are perfect for fly rodders. And unlike the surf zone where the wind is often in your teeth, the force and direction of the wind inside inlets, on the lee of points etc can be much more manageable.
Once you've identified a beach or area as maybe worth exploring, check it out on Google Earth to identify structure and specific places to target. Often you'll see structure on the satellite pics that are not obvious from land.