Couple of thoughts on this.

No need for a beginner to spend money on a name brand fiberglass shape, or go to a local shaper for their local knowledge/expertise. Beginners just need something that will float them and make learning easy.

With that said, buying a pop-out plastic is not the way to go. Pumping money into the wrong part of the surf industry, IMO.

And instead of buying something that is indestructible that can fly off the roof of a car on the highway and not be damaged, how about just learning how to take care of your board and investment? And when the fiberglass board does ding, learn how to fix it. It's part of being a surfer.

My recommendation is go get a WRV, Kechele, or other east coast brand fun board in the 7'6" range. It will float you on the small days, and won't hold you back as you progress as a surfer in nicer surf. It's also another step closer to that shortboard that we all know you are eventually going to buy.

And not saying that you shouldn't get a custom board from a local shaper. I always support the small, local guys. But there is no need to go nuts on the board's design and shape. It won't help a beginner.