I used them to take my first surfing lessons on Maui and it was great.
We met up with the instructor, who had our boards, and he taught us first on land how we were going to go about maneuvering, paddling, and standing on the board. Then we paddled out into the ocean, a small beach with small waves, perfect for beginners - there weren't many people there. The instructor did a good job in telling us when to paddle and when to stand on our first few tries, and they guarantee that you'll ride a wave at least once! And I did :) The instructor was VERY friendly and personable too. It wasn't that expensive, either, just $55 for a 2-hour beginner lesson.