-- Last Updated: May-29-12 3:59 PM EST --
Board weight may be a big factor in how much you use it. I'm a 160-lb male, and found a big difference in carrying a 25-pound board and a 35-40 pound board.
I'm a complete beginner -- just been to a demo day and one guided tour. Favorite board so far was the Bic Ocean -- light, nice balance of speed and maneuverability.
Read some nice things about the Tahoe boards for flatwater, but haven't paddled one yet.
The Isle Touring looks good on paper.
I think you've got the right idea for a paddle -- you don't need high-end carbon, but you do want something nicer than an aluminum shaft. Look for one that will adjust to fit both of you. Many of the adjustables I looked at had the wrong size range for my wife & I.