any of the catfish rods out there will work fine. I just got back from the obx and used a new rod that is designed for salmon up in Alaska. its 8'6" in MH. I put a new abu Garcia ambassador 6600hc 4c on it, with 50lb braid. I have used my 7' MH rods down there for years with the same reels and had great success with them, even on big rays. good luck.
Depends on a lot of different factors, lure weight, time of year, line weight, where you plan on fishing, how you plan on fishing, what you plan on fishing for etc. You can never go wrong with Penn though.
I used to surf fish a lot years ago, and I'm looking a to get a rod as well. If you can only have one rod a 9' rod for 1-3 oz is a pretty good compromise. You can throw far and if you need more than 3 oz weight to hold bottom the fishing isn't that fun anyway.