they use the best materials when they make their boards, all their boards are epoxy which is incredibly durable. the life expectancy of any board depends on how hard the sufer surfs in and how well he or she takes care of his or her board. Ive surfed 757 boards hard and barely have made any pressure dings that are really noticeable. My shaper Andrew surfs really aggressively and has yet to really do any damage to any of the boards he has created. also they have the option of putting carbon fiber on your board for a little extra cash( to wrap my tail up and inch or two past the trac pad was only an extra $40) i would check them out.
Get a board from steve a morris sam surfboards or known as longriders, i ordered a custom board a few weeks ago, hes almost done. Though i cant tell you yet how long it will last, but i have some friends with sam boards and longriders and they have been holding up for them, also ive used them a few times.. good boards, well thats why i got one. Hes just a local vb guy shapping on the side, and he is great with his customers and will get just what you want for a good price.
My first (and most) magic board was a Frierson-made WRV swallowtail thruster that I bought (used) when I was about your age. Just an incredible board that I've seen him replicate in his new shop. I'm a huge fan of Austin, as well (I have a couple of boards from him). His shortboards are far less expensive than his big-guy stuff & pretty competative in price with well-established local shapers.
Another shaper, Marty Keesecker, has been shaping for WRV since before Frierson bought the place from Bob White. He does his own label at a lesser price and without having to deal with the WRV experience.