I learned in a 686 Smarty Uzi. Learned in it. I learned to ride and did my first full season of park in it. That thing took a beating and like Jenna Haze's box, kept coming back for more. It never ripped, scratched or blew a stitch. The backside faded a little bit, sure, but that's nothing. I feel like that thing could have stopped a knife.
I have a 686 Smarty 2.5 for when I need something burly, but rarely have occasion to break it out.