Re: Beginner in Hawaii. Help a girl out!
Girl, I think you are on the right path. I think a 9' long board will do great for you and with $525 you should be able to get a pretty decent quality board(used). Dont worry about the fitness, that will come and being young as you are it will come very quickly. I think the key to begining surfing is quantity. Get out there as often as you can, even if its just for an hour sesssion and just a few waves. The more you are out there the better you will become and more importantly the fun factor will start to dominate your life. (wait, maybe thats me, anyway....)
I left the islands for 20 years and came back just to surf again. After 20 years of no surfing I kinda had to learn again. I think the best time to get out there and learn is the early morning "dawn patrols". For me it was better due to the fact it was less crowded, less chop in the water, no wind and I found the "guys' in the water a whole lot more helpful and maybe even a bit more patient with me. After a week or so of regular early moring surfs the local guys took me in and really helped with my surfing. Before I knew it the guys were letting me have waves all to myself and giving advice etc.. My learning "dawn patrols" were in Maui a few years ago and me and all those guys are still good friends. Now a days they fly to Honolulu and surf with me and I am the one giving the local/wave advice now. Regardless, I think its best to start off at a break close to home (so you can go frequently), go early and often, and stay with the same break until you are a fluent enough surfer to venture out to all of Hawaii's great surf spots and not put yourself or others in danger.
Welcome to Hawaii and the life long passion of surfing..........