Way too many questions to be answered if you are truely 'just beginning' but what the heck.....
1) Don't quit your day job yet, video 'goodness' is subjective (eye of the beholder thing) - you may be naturally talented, or your work may suck - only the critics can let you know the answer to that. You have also chosen a 'limited audience' field (surfing). Not a whole lot of major surfing flix out there. Maybe try and make a 'documentary' style or a 'day-in-the-life' style video first.
2) If this is your first foray into the 'field' - buy a cheap DV camera (used, e-bay, etc) and GLUE it to your hand - shoot, shoot, shoot. Develop a style, learn your lighting, learn how to shoot a steady shot, learn how to pan and zoom, annoy the hell out of your friends cause you ALWAYS have that damn camera running Only when you have an acceptable shooting style/technique (ie. your friends don't say 'that sux' every time you show them some work) should you move to a more expensive/permanent camera.
3) You don't say if you are computer literate. Are you going to do all your own editing and post-production? (my video editing computer cost more than your whole budget). If you can't do this yourself I would reccommend marrying someone who can because post production can be very expensive
4) shoot, shoot, shoot, practice makes perfect.
5) don't expect the uber-instant-profit thing (refer to step 1) - unless you get REAL lucky and make the 'blair witch' of surfing vids. look upon your failures as learning experience and keep on shooting.
6) Don't quit your day job yet, and keep shooting.
7) be open to shooting things other than surfing stuff, once you have an acceptable style offer your services/equipment/post-production skills for weddings/funerals/birthday parties/ and those intimate times with the girlfriend - This is where you can make your money to live on while pursuing your dream of producing the perfect wave video. (don't let the GF find out you sold the intimate video to that on-line amateur video site).
Be not afraid - if you build it they will come. (as long as you don't suck big time )
9) never give up, and don't expect instant gratification
My System Specs:
Cameras: 2 x Canon XL1s
Computer: Dual Intel Xeon 2.8Ghz processors (hyperthreaded) - Intel SE7505VB2 mother board - 2 Gb PC2100 RAM kingston -Adaptec FireConnect 4300 -2xseagate 10K scsi hdd 150G ea -2xseagate 7200 ide hdd 200G ea - Plextor PX-708A DVD burner - ATi Raedon 9800Pro video with Dual SUN 21\" monitors - Sound Blaster Platinum live!
Software: Windows XP Pro with SP2 - Pyro Pro (adobe\'s premier pro, encore DVD, and audition bundle)