Instead of talking about things I have not experienced, I thought I would show some evidence of what I was talking about.
The cloud performed well freeriding with surfboard and on twintip, over the range of 20-35mph.
Yes, it was overpowered in the 35+ gusts on the surfboard, but in those gusts it was still comfortable to cruise and easily controllable for jumping with a twintip
This was just a real-world freeride session, no sponsored riders, designers, or shop workers.
There were about 12 riders that day, on LEI kites from 6 or 7m to 12m from north, best, cabrinha, slingshot, and flysurfer.
Riders' experience ranged from 1 year to 12 or more years.
Those with big kites had less fun and more risk though no one got hurt.
The small cloud worked great for this session.
I could easily pace and point with other riders on conventional LEIs, and definitely whip the kite around with more control and less danger than the larger kites out there.
Could someone on a 9 or 10m edge or or something like that have outpointed me or gotten more hangtime?
But who cares?!
It was fun, not a contest, and I had a great time on the cloud, just as I probably would have on many other well designed 7 to 9m kites.
Now, on the theory of limitation of strutless design, the idea that it paints the designer into a corner has something to it, but not necessarily more so than any other design choice.
Having a kite that weighs an extra 500g or more also paints the designer into a corner.
Likewise, the aero drag of a bunch of struts can be a significant design constraint.
More weight and drag, from a heavier kite, require more lift (deeper profile).
Doing the job of propelling the rider does not require the deeper profile, or the fatter LE, or the struts. These features are there to service other design constraints.
More weight, more lift, more drag....
hmmm, "more" is the theme, sounds like we are needing more kite.
And in fact, this is the case! So in practice we see the strutless kiter is powered with a smaller kite than most conventional LEIs.
Is smaller better?
For waves, travel, freeride, pumping the kite, avoiding lofting accidents, beginners, etc, I would argue yes, smaller can be better, whether it is achieved by lift profile, bridles, foil kites, or light, strutless kites.
It's a common sentiment that it can be much more fun to fly a smaller kite!
But for recreational ultra light wind, racing, big air, etc., one would usually choose to go the other way, and want the biggest kite that can be safely controlled. Choose the kite based on your goals and conditions!
It has taken foil kites decades to evolve to where they are now, and LEI's 20 years or so.
Strutless kites are newer to the kitesurfing scene, but show plenty of potential.
All design choices have constraints.
In fact "design choice" and "design constraint" are in many cases, practically synonyms and may become interchangeable through iterations of design.
So how to have the most fun?
Perhaps some prefer to always be "painted into" the same corner of design, performance envelope etc.
Some will prefer to try different corners, and different perspectives.
This is the wind graph from my recent session on the 7m C2.