My first experience surfing (or trying to surf) was on a trip to Southern California many, many years ago. I was continually thrown around and taken under the water many times by the force of the waves. I noticed the waves tended to break or roll over in different places, so finding the 'right spot' to be in was challenging enough, then having to pop up and stand on the board was a whole other situation. The beauty of a wave pool is the consistency of the waves; always the same size and breaking at the same place, so you can figure out positioning on the wave quickly and focus on the actual surfing part! You will be able to practice surfing when you are available instead of waiting for an ocean swell or the right conditions to go surfing.
Many beginners start out on sandy bottom ocean breaks, which tend to break very inconsistently and the sand bars shift which changes the contours of the ocean floor that shape the waves. So even going to the same spot over and over again can still be problematic in the novice phase. Once you understand different parts of the wave, such as where it's most powerful in order to stand up, how to position yourself there and where to stay on the breaking wave, then it's time to bump up to some ocean swells. Longboards tend to be easier to stand up when just starting out and can also be easier to paddle into the waves on.
Below is a picture of one at PIC resort on the island of Saipan!