After 1 year I switched from the big boats, rented at my surfclub, to a Starboard Aero 117L. It was hard working that year but I had and did learn a lot (also thanks to my surffriends). After 1 year with the Aero , I was waterstarting, gybing, footstraps and so on. After that year with the aero I sold my board and bought myself a Futura 101L. This year I hope to learn the carve-gybe.
But I think that also the conditions are important to compare. I mostly surfed on a well known surfspot in Holland, this means constant and powerfull wind. So good learning conditions. My weight is 70kg.
I think if you buy yourself a 120L board, maybe a futura, you can make (comfortable) the step to smaller boards and always keep that board for days with less wind.