mad heads start out on longboards/funshapes because it is easier to learn the fundamental concepts and techniques of surfing, longboards have mad volume which makes it more stable and floaty as well as more forgiving to balance errors. while there are people who just pick up short boards and go, it is alot easier to learn by transitioning from a big board to a small board, but hell the waves on the east coast are typically better suited for a slightly bigger board anyways.