I like short rods, if weed is a problem you can use an uprigger to get it higher. The short rod will give you a little easier fight, the longer the rod the more leverage the fish has on you and your arms can wear out. So far my rollers are OK, but like Inc I worry about them in the sand and will likely not purchase anymore roller rods as they do have to be maintained so they don't lock up on you when you're fighting the fish of a lifetime.
Sharkhunter, that would have to be one loooong top shot! I prefer to use spectra backing with mono topshot, then yak the bait far enough out so the mono dissappears and it's all braid going into the water.
I'm a fan of short rods. Unless you are casting,
Long rods give the fish all the advantage in a fight and work you to death because of the leverage issue.
If you are worried about getting up over weed in the first gut, use a up rigger or a kite. Ain't no 10-12ft surfrod can compete with a 20ft rigger for fighting weed and a kite does a even better job.
For 50# class, a 7ft rod is about max for me. With 80#, 6 ft is plenty of rod.
You can take a short rod with spectra and set a good weight and you will have very little sag in the line which means the line enters the water at a greater distance from the beach. It also cuts though the weed better than mono. I use a 300yrd top shot of 65lb powerpro when the weed is bad and set them at a 45 deg angle to the beach with a good weight. I also drop down to only two rods. It's what works for me , to each his own.
I know one thing if its bad enough it does not matter what you do. Like TJ I think I'll start fishing from my yak when it's that bad.