Thank you all for the good advice, especially Matt's detailed post there. Some very good things to think about. I only know two surfers personally - a guy and a gal. Everyone else would be "a stranger", so I was already thinking I'd have to make some friends doing this! Very good points about whether or not I could pull it off getting in the water. Maybe standing on shore or waist deep or something would be better for starters.
I think I will stay with the Minolta gear because that is what I know ... I like the idea of just dedicating a beach body - that's probably the best way to handle it. Then when it gets all scratched up I won't cry. hehe...
I'll have to think about the lenses. Thing is, with Minolta it's either old, manual bodies and MF lenses; or newer AF bodies and AF lenses - there really is no "good" way to interchange the two systems.
I shot old manual focus Minolta gear for a long time, and really loved some of the cameras. But the lack of a built-in spot meter really puts me off to getting into them again. Perhaps they would be best for this kind of thing, though? I just got spoiled when I owned Maxxum 9 and 7 bodies, that is for sure!
Thanks for all the great advice, and please keep it coming if anyone has any more, because I'm just re-entering the hobby after a couple year break, and I'm going to have to buy cameras and glass again, so it's not like I'm dead set on anything...yet.