Disclosure, I sell Flysurfer and other brand kites and Moses Foils.
Over more than a decade I have flown a wide range of kites, mostly inflatables, but a few foil type kites as well including Flysurfer and Peter Lynn Arcs. Generally the inflatables outperformed the foil kites in nearly all areas. However I was tempted to give foils another go after dragging out an old Peter Lynn Venom Arc kite to use when I was learning to hydrofoil last summer.
The Arc with its auto zenith capability was great when I was learning to manipulate the unwieldy board with foil into position to restart every time I crashed, which was frequently. The Arcs don't have a lot of power for their size and they turn slow but this was helpful learning to hydrofoil.
However my foiling has improved since and the Arc features became less relevant. But it got me thinking, there was a difference which I liked in a foil compared to an inflatable but was there a foil which had the good aspects of an inflatable and less of the downsides of my past foil experience. Reading online kite forums and reviews brought up some contemporary foil kites which claimed to be the best of both worlds and one of them was the Flysurfer Soul. So I became a Flysurfer dealer placed my initial order and bought some stock.
I'm only 65kg, live in a windy area 2.5hrs South of Sydney on the New South Coast and never seemed to have a lack of wind on my foil board even on a light day with a small LEI kite so I tried the 6m Soul.
It comes in a compact bag and I used the 50cm Flysurfer bar and lines. (Kite and bar available separately so you can use a bar you have if required) Initial setup involved closing the deflation ports, (velcro so no corroding zippers), sanding the trailing edge of the kite which was approx. upwind and laying out the bridle lines. Although this is the bit which intimidates many, with all these thin lines all over the kite, taking the mixers where the lines come together and shaking them out and gently pulling them until I had tension pulling the leading edge of the kite up a little made them all straighten out and they all seemed to be in the correct position. I then attached the bar & lines and it was ready to fly. Hooked into the chicken loop, gently pulled the leading edge into the wind to give the kite some inflation and then stepped back and launched the kite.
I had reasonable room downwind as it was a bit of a hot launch, but the kite slowly flew to the top of the window without much pull, the tips flapped a bit as it rose, slowly filling with air and within 15 seconds the kite was flying comfortably and ready to go. I grabbed my foil board and went out in about 15 knots of steady wind. Diving the kite a couple of times to get the feel of where the power was and where to sheet the bar, I dived hard and got up on the board, spent 100m - 200m getting the feel of the kite with the board on the water, sining it to keep sufficient power and then leaned back to get up on the foil. The kite was powerful enough when up on the foil not to need sining. Being only 6m it needed more skill turning with the Soul to stay on the board, though the Moses 633 on 71cm mast was much easier than the Moses 590 on 91cm mast.
After a few sessions like this, some in stronger wind, the kite seemed to improve along with my skill. According to Flysurfer it takes about 5 hours of use for the bridle lines to settle into their correct length. The kite was extremely smooth, ignored gusts and bar pressure was enough to feel the kite but was not tiring over longer use. Using the kite on a foil board led to a few crashes, a couple which put the kite in the water in different downwind positions. Almost without intervention the kite moved into relaunch position and easily took off from the water. I tried the reverse launch procedure, pulling both back lines to reverse the kite off the water, then letting one go so the kite quickly turned and flew back to the zenith. Even small waves near the beach didn't seem to affect relaunch. It was certainly faster than an inflatable kite relaunch and dispelled my fear of dragging a soggy bag of water in from 500m offshore. The bane of using an inflatable on a foil board when the wind's so light you can foil, but crash and you can't easily relaunch, is probably one of the biggest selling points of the Soul. The kite material seems to stay dry even on the water and the light weight makes it possible to relaunch in very light breezes.
I also tried the kite in winds around 20 knots on a twin tip where it was easier to make a comparison with and LEI kite performance wise. The kite could handle a lot more wind but it was easy to sine the kite to generate power in lulls and was similar in use and felt like an LEI in many ways. Being 6m meant it turned quite fast for a foil kite and was easy to adapt to. The power in turns occurs a little bit differently to an LEI kite and sheeting position can affect both turning and speed, however the more I used the kite the easier it got and I think any competent kiter would find the Soul an all round, easy to fly, freeride kite. Even in winds below ideal for the kite, jumps were floaty and easy.
In summary the kite performs like a cross between a foil and LEI kite. All the advantages of foil kites and much of the feel and performance of an LEI. So far the only downside is landing on your own in strong wind. Best way is backstall down on the rear lines and then flag on the front line at the ground. It'll flap a bit, so you need to tidy the lines, but that's not a big issue. I highly recommended the Soul for foil boarding and it will also do double duty on a TT. Next step is try try it on waves on a surfboard on short lines by removing the extensions which come standard on the Flysurfer bar.
Now wanting some really light wind so I can take out a 10m Soul on my foilboard and see how low I can go on water that just just has a ripple If you want to demo the Soul or Moses foils feel free to contact me.
Have fun, Dave
I have the 8m and 12m soul. If I could afford it I would buy a 6m too for high wind hydrofoiling 20 knots plus.
The 8m can get me going in 15 knots on a twin tip at 80kgs. I use it from 10knots on the hydrofoil.
I fly with 17m lines, wasn't a fan of the 23m lines, too slow.
One of the main selling points is it's super relaunch and ability to not fill up with water if you drop it for prolonged periods of time in the water.
A very readable review and informative to boot..