If you have to get one now, you might want to check out the stores near you. Some of them will still have last years models on sale/clearance. It shaved 100$ off of a 300$ board in my case. (Let's be honest, unless something crazy happens, last year's boards are probly just as good)
Also, I'm not totally sure what size you would need, but I think you'd fall in the range they're more likely to have. While they only had one in my size (I'm a bigger fellow apparently...) they seemed to have a fair amount between 150-159.
Capita is going to be your best bang for the buck.
There's nobody making as quality of boards for the price in the industry as far as I'm concerned.
You might like a Capita Horrorscope in a 151cm for your first board. It's reverse cambered so your contact points are lifted which will result in catching edges less, and it's already shaped like a board does when you turn. Making initiating turns even easier... And this board is one that pros use, so it will last you for a very long time.
Don't forget that boots are the single most important piece of your arsenal. And spending $300 doesnt guarantee a nice boot. Go to you local shop, try a bunch of boots on, and then the boot will pick you.
"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. Thatís my religion." - Abraham Lincoln