Paddle into the wave with your head up and your eyes looking across its’ open face, not at your feet or at the nose of your board.
Your surfing will see improvements once you can confidently transition your feet into surf stance with your head up and eyes looking across the open wave. Before that it’s likely that a number of your rides take you straight to the beach or close out in front of you. This can happen simply because you weren’t looking in the right place. Moreover, if and when you did look, it was just too late.
The key is to develop this ability in order to study the wave and anticipate what you are going to do from the instant you catch it. Once you can smoothly catch the wave with your head up you will become more connected, fluid and efficient. Your ability to execute maneuvers will greatly improve.