Re: 9' 8-weight versus 11' 8-weight (switch)?
I'm sure Pocono will show up soon and give his sage advice, but here's my opinion (what little it is really worth):
An 11ft switch will get you above the surf and help you cast a bit better. However, an 8wt switch is more like a 10wt when it comes to line. I dabbled in the switch rods for a bit and found some interesting information. The weight on the lines to load a switch rod is much more than your standard weights. YOu can use both hands to overhead cast, but it's still not something you'll be slinging around all day like a 5-weight.
If you don't plan on hunting in the surf, look at a 9ft. The 8wt should do all you want with everything you've listed.
It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.
What manner of jackassery will I be subjected to today?