I've had good luck with the random $50 walmart special, 8ft medium action that I throw 20lb mono onto. Have had the one since 2005 and the other for about 3 years now. All good so far. I have a diawa 6ft medium action bass rod with 8 lb test that I use for all my flounder bucktailing. That's landed me several shorts over the past two years
Really depends on your price range. Spooling an 8000 class reel with braid costs about 40$ btw. I would suggest braid over mono cuz you never know what's gonna hit and a big toothy guy can peel off a lot of line fast.
You throwing bait or lures? I have 9, 10 and 12 ft rods all matched with penn fierce 5000 and 6000 reels. The 9 and 10 are for throwing lures and the 12's are for bait. I believe my rods are the Inshore series? I'll have to check. My advice would be not to cheap out on saltwater gear, last thing you want is a big fish breaking off. When I caught my 40 inch bass it was a battle even with a 9 ft medium rod on 20 lb test line.
i went through numerous cheap roads in a summer..i was fishing regularly...but the run of the mill combo setups didnt last long...
i setup a couple decent rods and reels and ive put some sharks, rays, red drum etc on the beach and still going strong...i have less than $200 into a rig ive put 6-7ft black tips on the beach with..well..over $200 with 300yds of braid on it and drag modifications..
if you go surf fishing even a week a year it may be a worth investment to get decent gear..otherwise you can pretty much plan on buying the lower end combo stuff every year..after trashing a couple you could had a better setup that would still be going strong...
sand and salt water is heck on gear..take care of it and wash it off after fishing with fresh water and dont drag the reel through sand and decent gear should last..