RE: 2003 Sonic 85?
Thanks SIN909 for your comments concerning both the MLs and the Sonic 85. Sounds like the 85 will be a practical workhorse to train on. The fact that it's a bit more technical in its ride should keenly focus your style and make you tougher overall. Really, an interesting plan. However, you must have a pretty good reserve of willpower to be able monitor your use of the ML. I know that I would hard pressed to conserve and meter my usage. Yet, I'm still toying with keeping the old ML slalom in the van for those days when the surf is on the nasty side. Also, surprisingly, the old board does pretty well wave riding some of the less critical breaks in my locale, especially when conditions are on the light side. Even though I usually like to zip about on the outside, its great to snag an occassional down the line wave just for fun of it.
I should point out that I'm like you in sailing the MLs without pads, as it offers a more direct feel and I find that my joints aren't that sensitive to the action. I do use booties though to protect my feet.
Again, thanks for offering your thoughts, and good luck for the 2007 season.