Yes, most kayakers do overthink things. The message board is kind of like watching a sporting event and having someone breakdown the events of the game but the game itself is just being played by the players. There is a lot of learning and satisfaction that can come from that but ultimately it is not the same thing as actually paddling. It can however change and influence you but it is only in your head, until you apply it.
One thing, I like about paddling, is that you can make it into what you want. We have a wide range of paddlers and opinions on this message board. I like that diversity. Some folks are competitive and some are not. Some folks look for long extended trips and others focus on short day paddles. Lots of different environments, boat types, goals, experience levels. You can be selective and choose what threads you want to delve into. There are not a lot of parameters on this forum. Just be polite. It is okay to be opinionated. If you have stuck with this forum then I would say you have at least some interest in “thinking deeper” about paddling. Although, the most popular thread here? I’m guessing, it is still “pretty pictures”!
In the ww realm, I noticed starting out (early 80s) that I paddled with a lot of military personnel and engineers. Now the crowd is much more diverse that I paddle with. One reason why I paddled with so many engineers was because I was looking for mentors and many people, prior to me entering the sport, often made their own boats out of fiberglass, borrowing molds, and participated in races to evaluate performance… I think that process appealed to engineers. They also had enough income to afford the hobby.
Military personnel liked the thrill aspect and met the physical requirements so even now I continue to paddle with vets and active military personnel.
Several of my mentors were interested in the design, the boat building aspect, of the sport. It was only when quality boats became massed produced that the sport became really accessible to me.
I traded in patching someone else’s old used glass boat, or having to paddle a stock canoe like a tandem grumman or tripper on ww., New solo boats designed specifically for ww were being mass produced. Durability had improved. The process had changed and favored “doers” like me. Previously, it favored the “thinkers”. I guess you could say the sport got “dumbed down” to where even I could enjoy it.
Currently, ww kayaking is being “dumbed down” to market kayaks simply as “creekers, river runners, and playboats”. It is a good boat selling strategy. Convincing people that they need a new boat to enjoy new environments or to do new, specific tricks.
Have I over thought all of this? For sure!
When I’m upside down I’m just thinking it would be nice to breath some air. Paddling ain’t always complicated. “Breathing is good, drowning is bad.” Those were my deep thoughts right after I flipped in the base of a drop on Sunday. Nothing technical about any that. Those were my shallow yet submerged thoughts in that moment! Simple is good too!