If you're lookin for a versatile flatwater board, this board works well. I tried one out and was pleased with its stability and ease of paddling. The small keel keeps the board straighter than a flat-bottomed board. For a beginner these are really important! I would use this board for casual paddling and short trips, and the multiple tie-downs means you can store a lot of gear on the deck.
This board is also well priced and a better value than many other beginner boards. As well, you get the BIC durability, which is better than most brands.
I've had this board for years. It's stable and reasonably fast. It makes a good, reasonably tough cruiser that's pretty stable in chop. I recently rode it 90 miles down the Hudson River. It bore my gear well, although I had to install some tie-downs in the rear. You would do well with this board if you wanted a board to cruise everywhere. The flatwater nose means it can't surf, but it can do pretty much anything else. I would like a little more buoyancy in the nose for heavier chop, but the board isn't really designed for that anyway.
I have a lot of good things to say about this board. It's stable and relatively fast. I actually won a surfboard class race on mine. This is a great family board for kids and playing around. It's also a good for short distance paddling, under six miles or so. The ricochet skin is pretty tough. I also like all the tie-downs.
Issues: The paint is sub-par. It bubbles in the sun very easily. Too easily for a board that's supposed to be this tough. It's also a little big for most surfing. It's fine for gentle, short waves but not for any sort of maneuvers. It's also heavy, but that's a trade-off for the durability.
I rented one of these for surfing. It was the smallest surf SUP I'd ever tried. Nice board. For a (mostly) beginner like me it was a good transition to a smaller size. The construction is quite tough. The width made it stable, although I would have liked to have more time to get comfortable with it. I'm thinking seriously of getting one for myself as a beach/vacation board.
I've had a Bilbao for about ten years. It's a really stable, run-about style kayak. Not really suitable for long cruises, but this boat is perfect for puttering about in creeks, bays, and slow rivers. I like how stable it is, and how easy it is to get in and out. The flat surface behind the seat is good for a small amount of equipment, but I think it would have been better if it was recessed for more gear. (I think the fishing model has this.) The little wheel in the stern makes it easy for one person to maneuver, although it is a little heavy for one person to lift on a roof.
This is a fine all-around board. It's a little big for serious wave riding (does fine on small waves though), but this board is perfect for messing around on the beach or in calm waters. NSP hulls are pretty tough, so you can count on this board lasting as long as you want to keep it. I did a nine mile paddle on one, through choppy water. I wasn't the best board for such a ride, but it handled the rough water fine.
This is a great general touring paddleboard. It has enough width for stability and a pointed nose to cut through the water, I like the tie-downs fore and aft for gear. That makes the Wing a good overnight cruiser. Anyone looking for a first touring board will not go wrong here. This isn't a race winner (unless you're doing Bic's one-design races) but it's fast enough for distance. The Ace-tec skin makes it pretty tough too.
I tried this board out on the Hudson River. This was the very first time I was on a pure race board. It took about five minutes before I stopped falling because, at 25" wide, it has fairly low primary stability. Once I got the hang of the way it rolled, it was fine. Like any good race board, it's fast and light. Great glide too. A strong paddler with good form will do well on this board. Be careful though; this light board isn't nearly as tough as a straight cruiser.
This is an interesting cruising board. Most boards of this style are biased towards going in a straight line, but the Pono really wants to turn. I think it's the curved nose, but if you paddle this board hard, you're going to notice this. I like the design. It's a good light cruiser, and I think the design with do very well in chop. My only suggestion is to get a good tracking fin with it, or you might get a little frustrated during a longer cruise.
This is an interesting hybrid board, with a flatwater, keeled nose and a surf-style body. It's a really good starter board. I like the almost indestructible construction and the tie-downs in front. The tie-downs convert the board from a basic beginner ride to a light cruiser. If you're bigger than 150–175 lbs, I would go for the 11' model.
The only con about the board is that it's slow. That said, it paddles nicely, and the keeled nose makes it track better than a typical board of this size.