I finally made a purchase. I was going to wait until the end of the season, but was able to get a great deal on a k2 raygun. I know it's not top of the line, but I'm going to invest in some great bindings and boots with the extra case. I'll hopefully progress on this for the next couple of years, and then jump into a more advanced board.
Thanks for all of the help. This is such a great place to get first hand info.