would be stoked to find an impreza wagon with the 1.8 or 2.2. those are good surf cars. my buddy would take the passenger seat outta his and sleep in it on trips.
I used to pick up 88 GL wagons for under $500. 5 speed with dual range 4WD is some fun stuff in the mud. Honestly, you should be able to find a decent early 90's Legacy wagon for under $2k. I am also a long time Roo fan. I have owned an 88 GL Wagon (carb with 5 spd and DR), an 89 GL Turbo wagon (5spd push button 4wd), an 89 XT-6 (Flat 6 cyl 5spd 4WD), an 06 WRX (wife's car), an 07 WRX (wife's car after financing issues with the 07), and now I own an 11 STI as my daily driver.
I'd go with an old 4 cylinder jeep wrangler. How can you beat no top, no doors, windshield down and a board sticking out of the back? No roof tie-downs to deal with, and you can just hose 'er out if you get too much sand inside.
Never owned one, but I'm trying like hell to convince the wife. Perfect surf chariot.