Thanks guys. Good info. Board length is a starting point, but I have been trying to be mindful of weight ranges from the manufacturer, and leaning towards the shorter end of what I can get away with (finding some 158's/156's that look interesting)
Thanks for the links, sedition. I've actually read most of it (reviews are spotty at best, simply because they are often written from a different perspective than my riding, but a good read). Unfortunately, the CJU took down the page I'm most confused about-- sidecut radius, core material, etc. I think this is where my shopping falls short of knowing what I'm getting.
I guess the core question is: What does the tech mean, and what are recommendations for a beginner rider? What will I outgrow in a "beginner" board as my skills progress? What in an "intermediate" board will make it harder for me to learn (and easier for me to hurt myself.:P)? (and what's the real difference between beginner and intermediate boards)
I'm willing to do my own research from manufacturers sites and other reviews, but I need to know what I can sort through in their propaganda to get to a sense of how the board will perform for me if I buy it.