you'll get ALL kinds of answers on this one, lots of peeps have a fav brand.
It's all gonna come down to what you/he likes, hit up a demo day from a local dealer and try some gear out.
Personally, i still ride cwb noob board (faze140), been doing fine for me for over a year, but i'm not doing stuff like tantrums and backrolls yet either. once i outgrow it, i'm prob going to try ronix. I've heard nothing but good about their boards. I do have a ronix longboard (stage) for surfing and love the HELL out of that thing. But that's me, like I said, find a local dealer and ask to demo some gear. find what you like. good luck bro.