Know what rip currents are and how to get out of them.5. How long depends on a how big you are, the bigger the guy the bigger the board should be. If you do not want to be a longboarder that's okay, but you will get allot better faster if you use the long board as a tool to get the basics down. A short board is super wobbly and unstable and their is way to much going on out their when you are first learning to have the added difficulty of un-stability as well.
Know some of the unwritten rules of the line up.10. When you are learning you need to start on a surfboard that has some width and thickness to it, yes a long board.
Again check with your local surf shop, or check your local surf report.
They like to take a sense of ownership of the spot, and feel like they should get all, or most of the waves out there, and new people who show up are considered the intruders. You will most likely just get in their way and give your self and the locals a bad experience.2.
Localism may show itself as someone yelling at you, dropping in on you, to flattening your tires, to waxing your windshield, or even throwing your shoes, or back pack in the water, and many other ways like these. When you are ready to surf with them just try to be nice and give them respect.
Along with the right surfboard is the right wetsuit.
Start on a big board and you will learn faster, ride more waves, ride the waves you do catch further, and have more fun!