Found the part Stateside...received in 2 business days.
Glad you got it Rob. I just spoke with Jacques at Hobie and he agreed that most dealers wouldn't normally stock the part you were looking for, so great that you found it. Thanks for calling us to let us know you did get it.
It sounds like the part just came without any brokerage costs or clearance charges. This is what Canadian dealers have to contend with. Every single shipment we receive from the US, whether duties apply or not, have brokerage costs of a minimum $25/shipment up to $200+. Whenever a private individual has a shipment come across the border, it's a hit and miss with respect to getting any extra charges. So if someone has a part come up without any charges once, this person rightly assumes that this is just the way it is, until the next time when the package does come with clearance and brokerage charges. Canada Post and UPS, for example aren't consistent in how they charge private individuals, but businesses?, every single time, we get charged. Thus, we are forced to consolidate our shipments more so than US dealers.
I'm not complaining, just trying to help explain why things are different in Canada than the US.
Another good way to look at it is Canada's population is less than the state of California but we're spread out over 6 time zones. In a northern climate like we have (short season) and with our customer base spread out like it is, it adds to our challenges.
I've had many similar questions as to why we have higher prices, why the extra waiting time, why this and why that? I've tried to find the reasons, so I can try and find the answers, but sometimes the answers are out of my control. Duties, (outdated for 2012) are one of those which are controled by the Canadian government. Hopefully, they will look at these old rates and reduce them to allow all Canadian retailers a more level playing field.
Anyway, sorry to ramble on. Thanks to all for your support and comments.