The main purpose of a surf rod is to get the bait out there as far as possible. Bite detection does not come into it as a good fish from the canterbury beaches will bend a rod over so far while its in the rodstand that there is no mistaking that you have a fish. A stiff rod is better to get the fish in tho just about anything will do. There is a difference between playing a fish and playing with a fish as some people want to do a hollywood even with dogfish.
Graphite is the way to go if you want more distance and if the butt is too short to suit you extend it so that it is comfortable for you — there is no “standard length” so make it how you want.
All shop rods need some modifcation to get the best from them as long as its built on a good blank. If they cost less than $120 they look flash but are only junk. The Solaris rod mentioned is a wimpstick only suitable for clean sandy beaches up north with 10lb line and 3oz sinkers.
Some old reels will perform reasonably well — it all comes down to the ability of the user.
If you dont want to eat it put it back.