I don't know about the surf "instructors" that are in your area, but I have a hand full of friends that work 3-5 days a wekk at surf camps and on private lessons... My advice to you, is that most guys who "instruct" SUCK at surfing... I have buddies with the worst style, no ability to do anything radical on a wave, and they are "sharing their knoweldge" with legit people trying to learn... its funny to me... So, the first thing I would say to my new "surf instructor" is, please paddle out for the first 15 minutes and show me that you are a "pro"... just cause people pay you to instruct them does not make you a pro.... so be careful who you listen to....
If i was you, I would keep an eye out for someone who is out ripping, and pick their brain some.... start by finding someone who knows wtf they are doing.... california is full of kooks who are out making 15$ an hour telling people how to surf when they themselves get laughed out of the lineups..... And these guys are working for the most successful surf camps and instruction agencies in all of SoCal... its a complete joke.
Just a thought.
And I do agree with the point of a "surf coach" being different... but until you are punting airs and doing all the turns related to surfing, a "coach" wont help you... no one needs to "coach" a beginner... real surf coaches are critiquing on an insane level... foot placement, balance, leg positioning, rail grabs and timing... they are disecting the most minor details of your surfing to help you perform better...
surfing is difficult, but simple... paddle into the wave, stand up... if its a left then go left... if its a right, then go right... when you outrun the whitewater, turn your board and "cutback" to the critical part of the wave... then repeat.... when you need to go faster, pump your legs... if the wave is closing out, either ride straight out of the whitewater, pop through the wave face or bail over the back... plain and simple... if you are going for a wave, commit and be done with it.... wait your turn, follow the rules... BAM! Surfing 101 baby! now fire your "instructor"
you owe me a pizza.