"Also, for learning, it may be a lot easier dropping in on the shoulder rather than at the peak.[/QUOTE]

For learning maybe, not sure. Its easier to gain speed from the peak so you wont have to make a steep drop. Shoulder drops on fast waves can get quite steep since the wave is hitting the sand and beginning to dump. Specially during winter when we have freight train barrels. commit to the peak, it will be the best thing for your surfing.