A surfing board you can catch a LOT of waves on is the best one. What that board is will depend on personal factors. The factors involve fitness, your size, and weight, where you will be surfing and the surf conditions you have access.
We would generally recommend the biggest board you can manage up to around 9 foot long, in a longboard style. Start in small, broken waves (white water). If you find yourself in more giant waves, you’ll be learning more about getting bashed about than surfing.
Your First Surfing Board
Your first surfing board should almost catch waves on its own. To improve at anything you must practice, the more practice, the better. So wave count is a massive factor in your progression as a surfer in the early stages.
There is the most significant single factor in becoming a good surfer. It is the ocean and wave knowledge and understanding what a wave is going to do and when. The only way to develop these skills/senses is to spend time watching the ocean. And also a time in the sea catching waves.
The only reason to be ridding smaller boards is performance. So step up when the time is right. Make decisions based on how much enjoyment you are getting from your surfing. Not what someone else is riding and telling you to copy.
Varieties In Surfing Boards
A lot of variables here, your best bets is going to a local surf shop and ask what they recommend for your local break. Don’t be intimidated. Most are friendly. Don’t go to a shop that sells more clothes than boards, though. You want a real surf shop.
Basically, what sort of surfing do you want to do, and what are your local waves? If you’ve got a fast shore break type wave, a longboard would be a bad idea. Conversely, a long lazy, slow-wave wouldn’t suit a shortboard.
Get a board that’s at least 1 foot longer than you. That rule of thumb, regardless of board type, will get you something with enough volume to float you comfortably. You won’t struggle too much paddling.
But never get One that you cannot paddle because it does not float you. Do not attempt to be cool. Try to learn to surf with style and grace. It takes about ten years to learn because most kooks or beginning surfers do not know how to read the ocean, which is 95% of the deal.
Keep this in mind, people many have surged over the globe and have four decades of experience. They did well enough on the North Shore to gain enough respect .they got their share of world-class waves. That should be your long term goal To surf the North Shore well. Tiny surf does not rate, and you will be battling the masses.
Most of all enjoy the process. You can make friends everywhere you go and always respect the locals.