Love to get some more comparisons between the soul and Sonic 2. Thinking of getting a 12m to replace my 11m sonic2. That soul is starting to sound like my dream one kite quiver.
I have ridden the Sonic 2 11, 15 and 18 for testing and I personaly only bought last year a Sonic 2 13M and I have some 8 sessions with it so far. Since I sold my Speed 5 12M I bought a Soul 12M and I managed some 3-4 sessions with it. I am 95 kg. As you know the Sonic 2 is about the highest performing freerace kite with tons of hangtime and race performance it is not really making more sense to compare it with a Soul which is a freeride kite but since I have it both I write my comparison.
To fly the Sonic 2 it takes an experienced kiter and mainly an experienced foil kiter especially when you fly it in gusty strong winds. The Soul is about the most stable foil kite I ever fly even though it still has some nice jumping performance. I flown some mid aspect low performance kite and I was not really happy with them as their jumping performances was not higher then a good tube kite. When I fly a foil kite I expect them to be higher performance than a good tube kite otherwise there is not much sense to use it on the water. (And I am kiting 95% on water and maybe 5% on snow). The Soul is super stable but still has a nice jumping performance definitely above tube kites.
Lets compare jumping: The Sonic 2 jumps higher with more hangtime, but you need to be a really good kiter to be able to come down those heights especially when you start having jumps over 10 meter. The Soul is super simple to jump and I think it has the 90% jumping performance of the Sonic 2 and it is about 5 times easier to handle. Basicaly if you can handle a tube a kite you can handle the Soul. My last kite session with my Sonic 2 13M I ended up 8.9 meter per my woo and 8.6 meter with the Soul 12m. Since I have a 13M I was using it while the wind was lighter and when it get stronger a bit I was using the Soul 12m. For both kites I could stand a few more knots of wind but since it was a gusty wind I just changed my Sonic 2 13m to the Soul 12m that day. My highest registered jump with the woo was 10.6 meter on the Speed 5 12m and I think this I will be able to do with the Soul. So I think most people will love the jumping performance of the Soul and even me cant really use all the performance of the Sonic 2 yet.
Windrange: Maybe the theoretical windrange of the Sonic 2 could be higher but since the Soul is super stable I feel that the Soul has higher practical windrange. I guess the Soul 12M should have the same windrange as Sonic 2 11 but if it would be some super lightwind 5-6 knots of wind hydrofoiling the Soul would be much better because of the higher stability and on the other end of the spectrum in some 25-30 knots of wind twintip session my choice would be also the Soul 12M because of the higher stability.
Just 3 day ago happend that I managed to glide on my Razor in some 5-6 knots with my 15M Sonic Fr but as soon as I wanted to turn my Sonic Fr was falling down. Even though the Sonic 2 is made of lighter materials I think that the Soul would stay for longer in the air in the super light wind as it tends to fly deeper in the windwindow and has more structural stability. Maybe some hydrofoil racer can have a higher windrange on the Sonic 2 since its higher performance but per my opinion ca. 99% of the kiters will found the Soul to have higher windrange.
Turning: Both kites turn well but the Sonic 2 can be spinned more, meaning you can stall one of the side of the kite and spin the kite super fast. The Soul 12M is super spin resistant and it will turn just a powerfull loop or turn. The Soul has a powerfull open C kite type loop as well. The Soul tips does not collapse at all whatever you do while the Sonic 2 takes the right technique to not having collapsing tips here and there.
Restart: Sonic 2 takes the right techiques especially as Sonic 2 tends to go into some spagetti when it has a serious uncontrolled crash. The Soul will be not on the water since it is so stable and if it would be there by any chance it still is in one piece and it has a one line relaunch so it is super easy. Not just it has less aspect ratio but also the cells are much thicker so it keeps the kite much more pumped into one piece.
Unhooking: Here and there I used to unhook my Sonic 2 and Sonic FR as well but then everything has to go right as if I f*** up the jump and let the bar go, even if the bar is in suicide mode the kite will collapse when the kite rushes back at the edge of the windwindow. I did the same with my Soul 12M fucked up the jump and let the bar go and I expected the kite to rush through at the edge of the wind window but then it was drifting back and then I was able to hook back my chicken loop and kite further. Just like a stable tube kite would do it.
So the Soul has some 90% percent of the perfomance of the Sonic 2 and some 5-10 times easier handling. Actually it have ridicously easy handling.
I am paragliding for 24 years and since I have some knowledge on the on the different aspect ratios and cell counts and the 5.55 aspect ratio and 41 cell is just about the best balance between performance and stability and I am also flying a paraglider wing with 5.52 aspect ratio and as far as I know this is the most sold paraglider catergory also. (aspect ratio between 5 and 6)
Nice comparison skywalker. Kinda what I was thinking it would be. I love my Sonic2 11m and my SonicFR 18m but I know I don’t have the skills to get 100% out of them and I’m nowhere good enough on the HF to race so having that much more ease of use might be worth it.
Yesterday, I had the Soul 10m out in gusty 35 knots on the water. I weigh 180 LBS. I have a lot of experience with FS kites. The jumping and hangtime on the Soul was excellent. I agree that the jumping performance of the Soul is probably 90% of the Sonic 2, but it is so much more stable and easy to fly. I usually fly an LEI in that kind of wind, I have Core XR4 & 5’s in the small sizes. It was awesome to be flying a foil kite with so much more lift on tap, yet I never once had to pull the depower or felt out of control.
If you cannot read between the lines, the Soul is the best kite for 95% of the riders. I know FS is committed to the Speed. That is cool, but it will not be easy to top the Soul.
The only difficult part was landing a kite that size in that kind of wind. Any tips or techniques would be appreciated. I am used to inflatables in high winds.
My first 12m Soul session in 7-11kts. A no go wind for 12m HL.
Soul is faster and more agile - that is why it gives more power thanks to:
2.Cleaner surface thanks to more cell count 41 vs 31
3. Thinner trailing edge due to narrower cell
I managed to lift off without downlooping and 10cm shorter bar was long enough.
Next session I will try 60 cm Ozone bar that serve my HL 12m.
I pump both kites with max pressure and left them for 20 min.
HL loose more air after 20 min. maybe the reason was it is 1 yer old kite?
Soul stay longer in light air, with tendency to drift rather then to fall onto the liding edge. That is due to less mass concentration close to leading edge.
Last but not least, Soul is gentle to self land by backstall and I dont know why is the difference so huge. Also sits quietly on its ass when walking the lines keeping them in tension and a bit of backstall position to kill the power. Next time I will try both kites in one session if the wind will be strong enough for HL.
9 ribs on each edge have no plastic battens and that may cause some problems with the tips? Not observed yet.
IMHO additional mini ribs on 9 cells from each tip at trailing edge (as in Sonic) would improve agility even more without increased tendency to overfly.
Excellent comparison. I'm sure after a year of use, the HL is out of tune but unfortunately there's no way to bring it back to factory performance without replacing the bridle. This factor plus FS's warranty really makes the Soul outshine the HL. Let us know if the larger bar makes a difference. I always like using the larger bar to speed up the kite a little more.
Longer bar for 12m Soul become a mistake. I had to press more with my thumb during turns and, unfortunately, injured my thumb. Short bars are easier to turn, and I can easy turn them more to speed up the kite turning.
I wonder if my HL is out of tune after one year of heavy usage. As I remember, from the beginning 10+ was the best wind. I stil explore HL12 high end, somwhere above 20 kts.
Good to know about the longer bar Tadeusz, thanks for reporting back. As for landing, i've heard reports that the Soul is easier to backstall and sit on it's ass. The Sonic's you have to watch out because the trailing edge has a tendency to flip up and relaunch the kite.
If anything I think the great early reports if the Soul are underplaying just how good it is. I demo’ed it once and immediately ordered one. In one session I was more comfortable on it than my Chrono V2, jumping higher and having more fun. It feels like my LEI’s in terms of handling and bar feedback and has tons of power but without that hard to control speed you can get from being overpowered on the Chrono. Alongside mega easy relaunch I don’t think it’s too over the top to call this a revolution in foil kites.
OK maybe I overdid it but it is bloody good. The first foil kite I’ve flown where there is no real adjustment in technique to get the best out of it, and for me at least the first one I’ve flown with genuinely LEI like feel on the bar feedback. That is a big change compared to everything else out there. With the possible exception of the Hyperlink, which I haven’t flown.
For anyone wondering why not just a big LEI, the low end and stability in light winds is on a completely different level. When I demo’ed it the other day in light wind there were others out, just about making it back and forth. The Soul was easily getting me 5m+ jumps with 5 secs hangtime, and even had enough power for Ollie Bridge to take a friend of his (adult) out on his back and still manage some decent jumps. Hi his was just the 12m by the way. For bigger riders there are 3 sizes bigger to choose from.