I did a similar thing to my EA shifter.
I cut 2.5" off the middle section of the shifter so that the original fitting at the top can be kept. I then gave it an aluminum mig wielding session. This also meant that the bend in the shifter could be kept, which means its still comfortable.
Like you said, shifting kiks ass now, its soo much quicker, and when cruising, I can shift gears without taking my arm off the center console :)
CAUTION: Slippery When BOOSTING!