Nine people that the doctors know about have been paralyzed by surfing lessons here in the last five years, and I'm sure there are more tourists who went home to get treated & never connected their injuries to a surfing lesson.
It does sound from the article as though it could be avoided by taking only an hour, but who knows. I would only tell a tourist to take a lesson if it's close enough to shore that they could go in & take a break before an hour's up, and do some stretching and relaxing.
But some of these surf schools, and ironically it's mostly the expensive ones, take tourists to places where they can't paddle into shore easily/where there's no beach for resting, only rocks & reef. Lesson = go to the Waikiki Beachboys or maybe to Hawaiian Fire, who are off-duty firemen who founded their school in response to abuses by so-called expert surfers using their status for money. But Hawaiian Fire takes you out to an awesome beginner spot which involves most of the day, so maybe the Waikiki beachstands are better for many people.