With just a little bit of time spent observing the ocean, the effect of quality sandbars can easily be seen. The powerful winter storms push a lot of sand around... sometimes for the better, sometimes not. A break that was great last year might have shifted this year and won’t break properly, while some place that hasn't worked for years might suddenly reawaken.
Some surfers simply go to the spots that they're used to, without recognizing these patterns. If they see a lot of people out in one area, and not many people out down the beach, they assume it must be better on that peak and then paddle out there themselves. Crowding the line-up and limiting the number of waves everbody catches.
Sometimes, though, you can find a wave as good, or at least almost as good, a short distance away--by yourself. It's definitely worth the effort to seek out those fleeting sandbars. But please remember to watch for rip currents. If the water looks churned up, bumpy, and looks like it's flowing like a river, it's best to be cautious and paddle out somewhere safer.
There's A LOT of coastline in the NW, therefore there's amazing potential for new, fun sandbars. Have fun exploring!