That's funny because I was pretty intrigued with the Proto CT a couple of moths ago but I found myself shying away from it due to the fact that I got the sense that some didn't think it was suited for a beginner. But if you think otherwise, maybe I'll pull the trigger on it soon. Also, over spring break in breck, I was riding a 152. So you hit the nail on the head. As far as bindings go, what brand makes good bindings for beginners?
I'm torn between the Proto CT and Cobra this year (and a million other boards). I have a new westmark as my fuck around stick so I'm leaning Cobra. I wouldn't worry about it being too advanced. Millions of people who never even visited a forum have learned on whatever it is someone had spare in their garage. Just stay away from a too long too stiff board and you'll be fine.
I think a 154 proto would be perfect if you gain weight. 152 if you don't.
If you're really afraid of something to stiff maybe an Evo if we're sticking with NS sticks. It's not that soft but softer then the other decks mentioned. Capable of some all mountain trickery but does chatter when you get speed on bumpy terrain.