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This is brought in Beit Yosef on the Tur: Hilchot Tzitzit: 8. The midrash the Gaonim are quoting can be found in Yalkut Shimoni: Beshallach: 234. It should be noted that Yalkut Shimoni is a collection of earlier midrashim and was actually authored after the period of the Gaonim. The text from the Yalkut Shimoni is: והמים להם חומה בשעה שירדו ישראל לים ירד ...


The Talmud (Menachoth, 40:1) says "Our Rabbis taught: A linen garment is, according to Beth Shammai, exempt from zizith; but Beth Hillel declare it liable. The halachah is in accordance with Beth Hillel"

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