If you can stay away from tips for as long as possible. Epsecially when you are learning. A straight floater is the best way to learn, tips require better technique and timing to fish effectively. I had the experience of learning with tips first and it was a lot tougher than if I had just stuck with a floater. However you can get a rio windcutter with tips and just leave the floating section on.
Line length to rod length is relative I think for learning. Find a shorter bellied line and you will have a much easier time casting a shorter rod. 55' may just be a little much on that rod. Get something in the 40-45' range and you will be amazed how much easier they are to cast on those shorter rods. Something like a rio scandanvian head or those types of lines will rock on your rod.
I really think you should take a look at those echo 2 rods. Almost a 13 foot 9wt and one of the best 'hybrid' rods for spey and overhead I have cast. Works great with the short belly 55' head lines. Any dealer that deals airflo lines should be able to get you one to try out.
I would try and get a new rod with warranty for whatever purchase you make for your first rod.
Also take Juro up on that offer, I just cleaned house of most of my rods and the 4 I have left are my babies....