I only know the Burton line but here's what I recommend:
Try to ride one board from each of the three camber profiles:
-regular camber, eg. shaun white board, custom, parkitect, process
-flying V e.g. custom flying V, sherlock, antler, process flying v
-rocker e.g superhero, whammy bar, blunt
If you can ride the same board in two profiles, e.g custom camber and custom flying V then you'll get a good benchmark on the impact of the different shape
Finally try to ride the Nug, it's a fun little board that you ride about 10 cms shorter than normal
also from Burton try to ride a set of bindings with the Hinge tech, it's supposed to allow your ankle to flex in line with the board to make poppier ollies. For 3/4 hole bindings try to ride somehting with reflex tech, supposed to do the same thing but fit industry standard mounting, ie. non-est.
The genesis binding has a two part highback that is supposed to be loose and flexy when you are goofing around at slow speeds and then when you push it the inner flexy part of the highback locks down into the outer piece giving good control. Lastly I predict that there will be a board you want to try that will either be not there or always out with someone else. You will wind up buying this board the week after without riding it, just to try it out. Happens all the time.
Anybody know when the Burton demo day is set for Blue Mountain Ontario?