It all started nine years ago when I lucked into a mid-80's Mistral Superlight. Aficionados know that in a world in which twenty-year old gear invariably belongs only in a landfill, the one great exception is the Superlight. There are three reasons:
1. Racers will tell you how in nonplaning conditions the Superlight is fast and an upwind machine.
2. For several years the board came with an incredibly cool spring-loaded retractable blue fin.
3. They are a lot of fun to sail in 8 knots.
(What does this have to do with the Kona? I'm getting to that.)
I've been enjoying my Superlight for nearly a decade...it's name is Mr. Al...the stupidest of all of my board names. A year ago I broke the spring loaded fin, and finding replacement parts for this antique is quite the challenge. I know what you're saying: Put in a standard finbox and get on with your life! But you don't understand the pull that this little gimmick can excert (on me, anyway). And when I contemplate giving up the trick fin, I suddenly find myself drawn to the youthful beauty of the Kona Style. That board is hot! It speaks to me.
What to do? What to do?
Putting in a standard finbox will cost about $200 to have done properly. A thrifty, mature, and green choice...keep my old honey humming! BUT I could take that $200 and put it towards the sexy Kona (after saying a respectfull good-bye to Mr. Al and then taking it to the dump.) A forward-looking and exciting choice, though I'm on a budget, and would prefer to blow big money on a new high-wind board in the fall. Then it hit me: If Mr. Al is dumpable, why not just jam the old blue fin into the finbox, whip up a batch of epoxy yourself, slap it all together and see what happens? (Somewhere Eva the Board Lady smiles and says "knuckleheads like this keep me in business.")
So I did.
Some West Systems epoxy and filler produced these fine results (all credit due to the epoxy), which sailed beautifully on its maiden voyage this Saturday afternoon. Now that the board sails I'll need to clean the thing up a bit, for its own self respect. But sweet it was in North Sea Harbor!
Filthy yet sweet, my rejuvinated Superlight "Mr. Al" (all twelve feet and 250 liters) needs a scrub. She's no Kona, but she's paid for, and da fin works fine!