I was driving home from work down a1a one day when I lived in Daytona, and saw the sets rolling in, but I didn't have my board, and my board was over 15 minutes away, and that would mean it would have taken me about 45 minutes to go get my board and come back, so I decided to just hit up the surf shop across the street from the beach.
For $10 I rented a Soft top, what I like to call 'the nerf board' and went out on it.
I learned on fiberglass, then bought an epoxy, etc. etc. etc., but when I first started surfing I was considering buying a nerf board, soft board, or whatever you want to call it, and all my buddies were like no no don't do that, its a waste of money, people will laught at you and kick your ass and throw things at you because you surf on a nerf board.
So, I didn't buy it, but I wish I would have now. That day I rented one I had a blast on it, and i remember thinking, as I was riding it, wow this would have been perfect for me to learn on, I probably would have advanced a lot faster than I did.
So I say buy the nerf board, they are only a couple hundred bucks brand new, whereas an epoxy or fiberglass is going to set you back, especially these days post Clark Foam and all...
Besides once you advance beyond the nerf board, you will have a GOOD board for your buddies to learn on, rather than letting them borrow your main board.
Surfers tend to get what some people call a quiver, your arsinal of boards.
All I am saying is I personally think you will advance faster on a nerf board, but just about everyone would probably disagree with me, since lets face it, they are nerf boards.