Thanks for the very kind words mate.
Matt is away at the moment but I think ANY Laker would be a very good starter point. They are super boats and my laker gets wet more often than probably all my other boats combined. (Sasquatch come close but is a very different boat)
At the end of your build, you will have a great boat and at the same time, learnt a lot about Matt's build methodoligy. (this is a very good thing is you are planning something way more ambitious like a SOT.)
I am sure the Coffs crew will be a very big help for you and I have heard there are some talented wood workers in that area.
Please feel welcome to post ideas and questions here too. We are all keen to seen the success of your builds.