Yeah looks like Billabong is not sold here in the states. Visit your local surfshop and see whats available. Most surfboards today are made well, just want to keep an eye out on what the board is made of >> polyurethane or polystyrene foam covered with layers of fiberglass, cloth and polyester or epoxy resin, and the new TufLite (http://www.surftech.com/tech/Tuflite.php). You can also go with a softboard (Simular to a bodyboard), but I don't recommend it. All of these types of boards will affect your price and how ding resistant the board will be. You may want to go with an epoxy board to avoid dings.
A longboard or a funboard is a good way to learn the basics of surfing.
If you are a skateboarder you may want to go with a slightly larger shortboard. Not sure of your hieght and weight, but a 6'2" to 6'5" is a good range to work with.
If you learn on a longboard, it can sometimes be hard transitioning to a shortboard.
Bic (yes the pen company), makes good beginner boards. They are supposedly indestructable. They are heavy, but it is something you can be careless with and not worry about it. When you get better you can buy a better board. But this is what I recommend.