I bought one of these last time. We also have a solid board (riviera voyager, cost about $1000). I have also tried an nrs inflatable (big earl, cost of about $1000). In any case, here are my thoughts.
- inflating the tower to 10-12 psi is quit a bit of work. The pump is ok, but i wonder if a different pump would work better. My wife has a difficult time with this.
- the included paddle is a piece of crap.
- at 10+ psi, the board still has some flex. If you jump on it, it definitely flexes in the water.
- the fin is a bit goofy and the board does not track super well, but i think it is just fine once you get used to it.
- my riviera is a very stable board (perhaps too wide at 30 or 32 inches). The tower is much more unstable. We recently had a friend try both my boards having never paddled before and did not feel comfortable on the tower. He would have been just fine with more practice.
- the tower is not a fast board, but it moves through the water just fine.
- like me, my wife and 13 year old both prefer the hard board, but are also happy with this board. My 2 year old is happy to sit on this board while we paddle around with her.
So, this is not a luxury top, or even middle, of the line board. It is a lower end board. But, I like mine and I am very pleased with the purchase. It gives us a cheap board so two of us can go out. I can take it down the river and not care if we hit rocks (i am really worried about scraping my hard board in a shallow river).
I do wish there were more d-rings to tie a bag down. I will probably add a few of these myself at some point (d-rings seem to cost about $10 each).
In short, I recommend this for the price, but do not expect the world from this board.