Just to give you my thoughts. I started out on a banana 159w it was my first real board. I learned to ride on it and hit park and jumps. Still learning park. It is not as soft as several people have stated. I have no real board experience but this board has served me very well in my rapid progression. I love it.
That said I just got a Arbor Westmark 156 I only have a day on it and am still getting used to it but it has more pop and flex. The smaller board is much more playful than the banana at this point. Like I said only one day on it.
Not really sure this was useful info or not just thought I'd share my experience on the SB