What about the GNU Carbon Credit or Pickle boards? Credit for all mountain and Pickle for park. Check out the buysnow site for some nice deals on both. If you aren't buying this year it is kinda a waste of time to eval boards since so much can change in a year. I still recommend people rent or demo various boards with different base designs so they learn what they like. The Ride boards are another group I like. The Machete is a demo board we really liked this year and it was in the list of possible boards when we first started looking at a new board for my son. Honestly, the NS won out because I like the camber/rocker design and we found a screaming deal when looking to buy two new boards.
I don't know much about FORUM boards except they used to do a lot in park style boards & I use to see them all the time when I was in CA but not much since I got to CO.
Any of the boards above will last a long time. I think lots of beginners worry they will outgrow a board to fast but that's hard to do unless it a total novice board. Otherwise you will be able to learn and grow on most boards for a few years and you'll probably even keep that original board as a back up once you get the itch to buy something new. Narrow your choice down to a handful of boards based on the base design and their function, test them if you can, then just look for the best deal.
Last edited by PaintedPony; 02-28-2011 at 09:33 PM.