Hey there. You probably have already purchased a boat (and you should let us know because we are all following this
) but I thought I would add my two cents. I have been out of town teaching for the last few weeks, and just saw this e-mail. Another female perspective might help.
I agree with what everyone is saying, it comes down to your own agression towards the sport and what you want out of your first years of kayaking. I have to admit, I was middle of the road, and still am. I wanted to be able to run down a river and surf some waves. The thought of doing cartwheels in holes was not my thing when I first started. My first boat was the Inazone 220. It was a great boat for my desires. I flipped enough to dial in my roll, but went through enough rapids upright to build confidence. It also surfed. I finally got a place where I wanted more. Now I am in the 2 Fun. I don't think that I would have been happy learning in that boat, but it is perfect now.
That being said, we tend to put most students in river runners, like the Mamba. They still flip (as I can attest to the multiple recuses that I did in the last couple of weeks) but they are more stable than playboats. Our students built up a lot of confidence in a little time. They were able to learn how to eddy turn, ferry and work their way down class III rapids. The river runners have enough edge (and planing hull) to learn eddy turns, ferries and even surf some waves. Once you are ready to move up, you can keep it for big water or sell it to the next newbie who needs a boat.
If you are anything like me, I think you would be happy in the Inazone or Mamba (or something like that.) I have a Mamba 7.5 in my "quiver" and love taking it out on big water runs. If you want to be doing bow stalls, go for the 2 Fun or EZG. Note: my friend who is very like me just got the EZG. She said she is glad she has it now, but wouldn't have wanted to learn in it.
Hope this helps. Just remember, everyone is different. What worked for me might not be the best for you. But, no matter what, have fun out on the river!
Oh, and I totally agree with the outfitting. My girlfriends and I spend hours getting our boats just right (but we are lazy enough to wait for our first swim, then we outfit the boat. I don't know why we do this.) I know a lot of people who purchase JK Happy Feet and the Sweet Cheeks/Happy Seat (I never know what to call it) and put it in their non-Jackson kayak. They love it. For many, it is the way to go.