Welcome to the forum, Daniel. There is a great group of great divers that frequent this website.
To help with your gear, here are some tips.Wetsuit
- For freedive spearfishing in Northern California, a 7mm, two piece (farmer john or high waist pant), 'open cell,' 'spearfishing wetsuit' with an attached hood is most preferable. Camo doesn't matter. Get one that fits well. If you don't find one that fits you well, order custom. A proper fitting suit is the most important part of your kit.Snorkel
- Get a plain 'J-tube' with as few valves and other doohickeys as possible. Doohickeys can break. And use a rubber, figure eight snorkel keeper rather than any plastic clips that come with the snorkel. The clips are doohickeys and doohickeys break.Gloves
- For the North Coast, I'd recommend 3-5mm kevlar palmed gloves. A number of manufacturers make gloves like this. Fins
- Closed heel, plastic, long blade fins. Cressi makes a good inexpensive (~$140) pair. I'd recommend these or something comparable. In most cases, long blades work great for SCUBA, so you could trim your kit down to one pair of fins to save some money. Make sure these fins fit with the socks you're going to be wearing.Fin Socks/Neoprene Socks
- Only Argos, 4mm, and NOT the low ankle model
- Rubber belt with multiple 2-3lb hard weights. This will also transition well to SCUBA, unless you dive completely integrated.Goggles
- Call it a mask.
If you're trying to buy this gear on the super cheap and end up with crap equipment, you might be disappointed and discouraged from diving. Don't be surprised if you have to spend up to a thousand bucks.
I can't help you with a dive partner, but I'm sure you'll be able to figure one out.