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Installing Inserts into Softops for Handles

Big Softops are favorites with beginners, as well as older surfers, who often have a hard time carrying these behemoths. Handles added amidship make life much easier. With the single-skin construction of Softops, it is necessary, though, to provide a substantial anchoring for such carrying handles. For years now, I have successfully used Chinook double foot strap inserts for this purpose, set into 3/8" Divinycell.

Foot strap inserts come in 5-hole strips, which are easily cut into 2-hole bits. Set them into at least 3/8" PVC sheet foam, using a filled Epoxy as glue. Once cured, trim nicely, to facilitate installation.
The toughest part of the job is to peel up the EVA without tearing it. Sharp tools and much patience will do it.

Mark the EVA bits for later reinstallation!

Insert locations marked and cut with the router. Observe the plastic film protecting the rest of the board!
Inserts installed with filled, slow Epoxy. Once cured, the surface is ground smooth and the adjacent paint sanded away.
Glassed over with (3) layers of 4oz cloth, overlapping approx 3/4", 1 1/4", and 1 3/4". Once cured, the fiberglass is sanded smooth with 60grit paper.
Filled and primed
Saved bits of EVA reinstalled with contact cement, taking great pains to coat the edges WITHOUT getting any onto the outer surface, from where it cannot be removed without also removing bits of EVA...

Hitting the glue line with a mallet will help "set" it.

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