yeah, never buy a board when you're first starting out, especially since a beginner board will not be what you'll want if you ever improve. i hate to say this but rent a doyle (the foam shit ones) for a day, helps to get a feel for it, yeah you'll look like a kook, but it's a good start, then move up to a hard board. make sure before you go out there you know etiquette because if you don't (depending on where you go) you may encounter some nice locals who will restructure your face. i grew up in santa cruz Ca which is one of the worst towns for localism, so it's not a great place to learn, but if you can find an abandoned beachbreak with smallish waves...learn there. surfing is getting huge, and the busier it gets the more frustrating it is. You have to then deal with more assholes and more bodies in the lineup leading to more conflicts...which is why i've shifted my focus from surfing to skiing in the last 2 years. surfing can be the best rush (getting tubed etc), but skiing is always fun no matter what. try it out and search for the unknown spots.