Originally Posted by axle27
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.
Correct above on 2handers vs 1hander rods/lines. Line weights are (on average) at least two up in grain weight from a 1hander. As an example I have a 3/4/5 (Meizer build) and the grain range on that is 250 (light 3) to 400 for a heavy 5wt. (I have the rod lined with a 280 for a 'perfect' 3 and 328 for an almost 'perfect' 4.)
But another thought on rod length: A 10' fast action rod like the Sage XP. One of the best 'short speys' going. And with the up-locking reel seat you've got plenty of room for two/three fingers under the reel for casting.