I think it really depends on what you want to surf. Just because you want to learn to surf, doesn't mean you ultimately need to surf a short board. I personally started out ona longboard, progressed shorter and went back to longboarding because I like it more. It is really your own personal preference. If you want to surf only shortboards in the future, start shorter. My brother did that and surfs a shortboard fairly well, yet he is clueless and intimidated by longboards which is silly.