I've got a 9' Starlo Stick Shorespin which balances to a 5000FJ Stradic pretty well and you can probably get one for about $100 if you sniff around. The rod is fine, I've used mine extensively over the last two years from the rocks, caught small jew, drummer, bream, salmon, bonnies on it but I'm not really in love with the thing.
If you're happy to chuck pencil poppers and just skip them over the surface I'd actually go a 10' rod instead. Gives you some extra distance when hurling metal and it's easier to lift small pelagics with.
If you want to throw big cup-faced poppers you'll need a second much heavier set-up, preferably even shorter than specified.
Other options to look at are the Samaki Rods (Allure Surf/Zing). I've got a 10 footer which works well for the above species/applications and wasn't particularly expensive. Or some of the NS Seabass rods aren't super expensive and come in 9' models. Never fished one but they felt pretty good in the shop.
Maybe figure out the 5 lures you think you'll use most and buy the rod based on their weight etc.
Hope that doesn't confuse too much.