I am looking to get a 12m soul and to save ££ hoping to use my RRD bar with it, the bar has good throw and plenty of flag out on one line. However the lines are 23m long and the FS website says this:
Experience Short Lines
The SOUL gives you a sublime hydrofoil experience by using short flying lines (from 12-17m, depending on the size), to allow for the fastest maneuvers. This setup enables a more direct feel of the kite and generates less lift, which is perfect for learning a new aspect of the kitesport and adds safety whilst teaching on land or snow.
Is it far better to use short lines? I am not racing just freeride hydrofoiling, i don't even gybe just sit in the water and turn around, also looking to use in as little as wind as possible, what line length would people recommend?
Second question is that I have seen people recommend leaving the bar on the kite, if I only have one bar would a fake wooden bar with four line coming off do the same job in terms of keeping bridle tangle free and just swap with real bar?!!!
Line length won't really matter, you'll get different (and in my opinion better) performance on shorter lines, but it's not a must-have to get the kite and enjoy it in light wind. Shorter lines will make tacking and gybeing easier, in my opinion it's more fun to boost than on super long lines, and the kite will be less overpowered and uncontrollable in gusts. Wider wind range.
Any bar should work so long as it flags to a single front line with about 1/2 a wingspan worth of slack. You also need a bar where all 4 lines are equal length when the bar is fully sheeted against the chicken loop, which the RRD probably is.
Don't worry about the whole "leave the bar on the kite" thing. It's a HUGE HUGE HUGE time saver to leave your bars connected, but the bridles aren't that hard to figure out once you actually own a foil kite and fly them regularly. When I don't have a dedicated bar for a kite, I undo my line connectors then neatly coil/pack my bridles into the wingtip drainage vents to prevent the left and right getting tangled together. You can also use the deflate socks as a place to store bridles/speed systems, but I'm not sure if the Soul has 2 air release vents.
As long as your bar flags out kite on single line- it is fine. My RRD released to safety on two front lines. Not good for foil kite.
Regarding line length. - I much preferred to use longer lines learning ( 21+3 or +6). I found out longer power stroke was worth it to avoid struggle starting in low winds. Couple years later I went to short for big kites only (15)
Foils like flysurfer tend to use slightly shorter lines ,21m, because the bridles actually make the lines more like 24-25m.
Foils work well on 18-30m lines, smaller ones can go as short as 10-12m. You lose more high end than you gain low end the longer you go. The most frustrating thing about short lines is having to turn the kite more to work it. Shorter lines with extensions is the best way to get the most range out of foils.
Not having a permanent bar attached to your foil kite, you will not experience the super fast setup and convenience of a foil. You can launch from bag to air in 30 seconds.
It is sad bars are so expensive. They can be made new from components with lines from as little as $100.
Pansh has very cheap lines and even cheaper when you order a kite. Start from $24 for weaker lines. Stitching is lacking which you will need to go over again, some of their lines can be spliced. Otherwise you can make your own lines from Jerry Browns or other line.