I just got back from the shop trying on many many pieces of gear. Wow there's lots, both local and big name. The problem I've had so far is my feet hanging over the edge. Looks like I'll have to "narrow" it down to a "wide" board (love puns). That's going to cost me a pretty penny.
AZred60, that's what I've heard about being heavy and riding a beginner board. Bad news is I'll be spending more on a board than expected, good news is the better board graphic design, both the top and bases, are much better in the higher priced ranges. I can't stand the look of the Rome boards of 08/09. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's just opinion. But I've been following design trends for my whole life being immersed in design and I don't see the hot neon colours and splashy paint lasting long. It's no wonder the Burton T6 is 800 bucks.
I'm on the quest and will be searching for a very long time.
Thanks for your help everyone.