The old saying goes, 'don't sweat the little stuff''. But they also say the devil is in the details. What I find interesting is that the little things that I do sweat over are often quite different from the average paddler. For instance, I've been working on putting together my own short tow line for sea kayaking. As an instructor and someone who plays in rough water a tow system is quite important to me and I use it rather frequently. So I've looked an most every system out there and couldn't find exactly what I wanted. I was looking to have something about 12' long, quick access (ideally using my integral rescue belt), easy to stow, and not too expensive. Stohlquist had something close but there's is a long bungie attached to short webbing while I wanted long webbing attached to a short bungie. So I stole an idea from Jeff Allen and built my own using a spare stainless steel carabiner, a 6' spectra loop cut in half, an old stuff sack and a cowtail that was river booty from years ago. I think it all came together pretty well and I expect I'll have a chance to use it teaching at the Golden Gate Symposium next week.
On the other hand, I'm not too particular about the boat I paddle (most of the time). I don't care what it has for a backrest or footpegs, rudder or skeg, 15' or 19'. Don't get me wrong, I love my Ikkuma, but most of the time I just grab whatever is handy and go. But many people obsess over the littlest things in the boat they are using for even the simplest outing. They want to know the length of the boat down to the millimeter, its weight to the ounce. Is it a shallow V or deep V hull? how hard is the chine? Is it easy to roll? And I do understand that when making a purchase you want to get exactly what you want. But when it comes to paddling, pretty much anything can be made to work. It's OK to appreciate the perfect boat and gear but it's also OK to enjoy a paddle in a rental sit-on-top and aluminum paddle if that's what it takes to get on the water.