I mean you dont have to buy the install kit. not the best idea though. the only way to install them without the kit is to make your own jig's or freehand route the box's... if this is your first board that is basically a recipe for disaster. The install kits were designed to make a mistake proof easy install.
i didn't say it was necessary. it will just make your life a thousand times more enjoyable knowing that you didn't fark up your first board. you dont want to invest all your money into making a board than when you install boxs screw it up because you decided to just wing it? If you want to stay cheap use glass on fins, 20-30 bucks for fins and roving.
Buying an install kit, of any kind, is an investment. Which means you plan on building many boards in the future. Keep in mind you don't have to make that investment on your first board.
If money is an issue, and I see that it is, glass-ons are the call. Besides, nobody can call themselves a board builder who hasn't glassed on fins, IMO. It's one of the basic skills of board building.
In terms of them breaking off... boxes/plugs blow out too. There's no guarantees, brother. If you whack something with your fin hard enough to cause damage, you're gonna have to do major repairs either way.
On Tuesday we had a solid swell. Took one to the inside, kicked out, and took the rest of the set on the head. At some point my board got ripped out of my hands, and my leash looped around my fin and pulled it out of the box. No damage... just enough force to pull the fin out of the box. I spent 20 minutes walking up and down the beach hoping the fin would wash up instead of catching waves... but it didn't. I don't think that would have happened with a solidly glassed on fin. At least not how I glass them on.
There are many other advantages to glass-ons as well, and you can research this, I'm sure. But improved flex pattern, flex control, and reduced drag are BIG advantages.
Glass the fins on for your first board. If you try to install a box system without the proper installing tools, as stated above your chances of disaster are pretty high. If you buy the proper installing tools and decide that you really do not like boardbuilding, then you have wasted a lot of money. You really only need to have a box system if you plan on traveling with the board and need to remove fins to put the board in an airline bag.
IMHO, and this is not a plug for Greenlight, get the board in a day kit with the 6-6 blank. all you need is there, and shipping is cheaper because the blank comes unglued using a smaller box. My first board was a greenlight kit, and having it all right there makes the process much easier. once you have that first stick under your belt, then freestyle it. Standard board building became standard because it works almost all the time. If you try to reinvent the wheel the first time out, the odds are that your wheel will not be very wheely.
Never shaped a board before, but I'm getting ready to make my first attempt. I know where to get the materials, in part thanks ro the guys on this page, but where's a goods place to find tips on design, technique, and generally effective methods? Any input would be appreciated.