the bad news is west florida is the worst area in the US for surfing (except maybe the great lakes)
the good news is you get to play in warm water and, if you can learn to "read" and surf that slop, you'll be able to surf anywhere.
dlrouen is right, "pop" is highly underrated. Doing sit-ups and push-ups in your down time will help you be prepared for popping up quickly when waves finally do come. Starting paddling way before the wave gets to you is a good habit, too
I surfed the gulf (bama point) and east coasts for years and still relatively sucked. Took a decade of surfing the consistency and size of the CA west coast for things to really start clicking like instinct for me...and I still have to keep conscious of certain things like popping up, not sloppily dragging my knees and/or other poor form