Re: newbie to the surf-need rod
Welcome aboard! Generally, if you're going to fish with both lures and bait you'll need 2 different rods, one rated for the weight range of the lures you'll be fishing with and the other rated for the combined weight of your sinker & bait chunk. The difference in the casted weight of the two fishing techniques is quite large and you'll be hard pressed to find a single rod that will do both things well. A rod that is well suited to casting lures won't have the backbone needed for casting a sinker & bait chunk. A rod that is stout enough to handle casting chunks well is going to be crappy at casting lightweight lures.
For most beginners, a medium to medium/heavy rod in the 9 to 10 foot range with the appropriate weight rating for what you'll be casting will do well for you. I like a rod rated at 1-3 oz for plugs and a 3-6 oz rating for chunking.
Take a look at Tsunami rods. They're pretty decent for the price...