I just made O'Neill happy with my purchase (but perhaps my "local" surf shop happier - which I don't mind because I love the place I go). I was looking at boots, hoods, gloves, etc. but I'll hold off on purchasing those unless I really intend on going out in the dead of winter. I do plan on it though.
I could use help with all of those other things you've mentioned (reading the surf, etc.). I found an online version of a Morey DVD that gave some explanations to that effect but the clips seemed short and the stream quality was not very good.
FYI, given where I live in NJ (off I-78), it could take me less time to get to some of the Long Island beach spots (Long Beach, Lido) than to a LBI here on my side of the Hudson. I may have to make some trips out to Long Island. I wouldn't mind checking it out.