Yes, NSP boards are good, though I only have experience of kiting with one in particular.
I bought the 5' 6" Fish brand new, to learn the riding strapless thing. As you say, it was a cheap option to get into riding surfboards. I found that the relative wide board of the fish style was ideal for learning and after a short time have progressed to something with a bit more performance.
For some time it was the only board I was riding, the twin tip never out of it's bag. I've ridden it hard through chop and in half decent waves, the durability is excellent. Apart from a few chips of the gelcoat, easily repaired, the only other "damage" was some indentation around the area of the front foot placement.
I have just sold the board on to someone in a similar position and have also sold my only twin tip.
My quiver of boards are now two Resin8 surfboards, a 6'1" and a 5'10". The performance of these boards are superb, superlight and fast. My waveriding has someway to go but I can really recommend the NSP as a first venture.