i as an instructor i cannot recomend foils as it is virtually impossible to do a self rescue with one, as they have no floatation or 'structure' of their own
personally i think they fly very bad, and thay your much better off with a good lei
however i have only flown a physco2 16 once, and hated it!
I can say from personal experience that you can self rescue with a Flysurfer. Had to do one myself. I was out in marginal wind when making a turn my footstrap came undun and I fell dropping the kite. I attempted relaunching, not doing it the right way for really light wind, and had to swim in with the kite. Kite stayed sufficently inflated all the way. Took about half an hour to get back in. This happened on my 5 session with the speed, so even as a complete novice I had no problem.
I have flown Peter Lynn Bombas, Guerillas and Venoms..and now fly the Flysurfer Speed 17. I have flown Leis a fair bit on the beach and a couple of times on the water. What I can definatly say is that Peter Lynns and Flysurfers are more stable and don't luff as easily.
As for range the Peter Lynn Venom and the Speed 17 have much more range than LEIs. Even though I weigh 230 Lbs I am often the first guy out and staying upwind. The Speed 17 is an upwind machine. I'm talking about going upwind fast and jumping against the wind swell. When the wind picks up the speed goes upwind so well that I actually have to do downwindes to get back down to where I start out. With other kites you can go upwind, with the Speed you race upwind.
The BIGGEST plus for me with the Speed is that it has very little downwind pull. The Speed uses aparent wind speed like I have never seen in another kite. Even in low wind you can get remarkable speed.
The first time I was out and I flew the kite the right way and picked up a lot of speed i was going "oh shit the winds picking up"..."might be to much for my first time"... well I put ma ass in the water and came to a stop only to see that the wind was the same.... I was stoked..
As for turning speed the Speed 17 turns remarkablly fast if you consider it's wing span and that it has the power of a 25m plus Lei.
I can say this, about the power, as I have outrun guys 50lbs lighter than me that are on 20 and 21 meter LEIs.
I have only flown the Speed on standard settings and I can say that with good strong input it turns great.