I can't comment on the board choices (except that I haven't heard much good about the Feather). My fiancee started on a K2 Luna and liked it, great mid-range board, but I believe they've gone to a hybrid camber shape on that board now.
As for deals, now is the time to buy. The next month or two are when the best deals are (with stock still available). If you wait too long it can get hard to find stock. Depending on the brand you should be looking at 30-40% off now. End of March may be a little cheaper.