I would not recommend this boat for a beginner as its speed/maneuverability features make it a little tippy until you get used to it. Also the keyhole is relatively small compared to cruising boats and beginner boats. It tracks well in any current but would not be a good tracking boat in very calm, currentless water.
I rate this boat highly because of its toughness, responsiveness and built in design features such as the seat trim, drain setup etc. It would probably rate higher if its initial stability was better and the keyhole was larger, which would make it a better boat for a beginner. Overall I think that it's a great boat for the challenges of the surf or the river.