Choosing the right type of board
Buying your first snowboard can be tricky because there are a few different types to choose from. The three main ones are camber, rocker and hybrid. Knowing the subtle differences will help you make the best decision.
This is the most traditional shape. If you lay one flat on the ground you'll notice that the majority of the middle section is raised in the air. This gives the board more stability and power for fast riding and also helps for big jumps.
Pros riding halfpipe usually ride a cambered board. For example, gold medalist Shaun White's board (Burton TWC Pro model) is a cambered board.
This type of board would work for a beginner but some people think they are harder to learn on. In my opinion they are slightly harder to learn with but only by a small amount so it's still a very good option.
Rocker is sometimes called reverse camber since the middle of the board is curved in the opposite direction of a camber board. If you lay it flat on the floor the middle will touch the ground first and the tips will be the highest up (like the shape of a banana).
The rocker shape helps you to stay afloat in powder and can also be easier to learn with. The edges are closer to the ground so there is less chance of catching an edge and wiping out.
The Lib Tech Skate Banana and Burton's V-Rocker are examples of popular boards with the rocker shape.
There are a few types of hybrid board but the most common one involves an overall rocker shape (reverse camber) with camber under the bindings. This type of board has a wavy look to it from the side.
A hybrid board will be a bit easier to a beginner to ride due to its rocker shape but the camber zones will add some extra power for turns and jumps.
Burton has a popular version called the Flying V as do other companies like Lib Tech who calls one of its hybrid board technologies Banana Blend.
In the Pro snowboarding world, Travis Rice rode his signature Lib Tech Horsepower board, (http://gearjunkie.com/interview-with-snowboarder-travis-rice) which has a hybrid shape, in the Red Bull Supernatural contest.
Sometimes a board model will come in a few different shapes. For example, the Burton Custom comes in a camber version, a flying V version and another different version. This can be a bit confusing at first but if you just remember to read the whole name you'll know what kind of board you're looking at.
Any of the boards described here would work well for a beginner. I'd suggest starting out with a rocker or hybrid board (that's what I ride) but a camber board would work too. If you are going to be riding in powder a rocker or hybrid board will help you stay afloat.
Have fun out there and focus on improving your skills. Your skills will have the biggest impact on your ability to ride but picking the right board will help too.