Hi Flotsam and welcome to the forum!
Q1 Cheer up -- It was manufactured only 10 months ago and is virtually identical to the '07 models, without the price increase!
Q2 Make sure it rotates freely, but not loose. Use a little silicon spray from time to time to keep it lubed. Wiggle the rudder as you lift. There is a "lift" bungee that can be replaced with a loop (Hobie can elaborate on this) to give a little firmer lift. It'll break in with use (sort of).
Q3 Use the new manual if it's better.
Q4 A much better leak test is to put it in the water and see if it leaks -- saves a lot of water! Only if you discover a leak would you want to use your neighbor's method to locate the source. A small amount of water will enter through the cable openings and rudder controls, so no need to chase ghosts!
Q5 Look on the KFS forum http://kfs.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/frm/f/5086057385
and check out the posts from Apalach
. He is the master of lanyards and shows such an installation.
Q6 Depends on how big a hole you make. You Tejans have to be careful!
Q7 Request a kayak parts and accessory brochure and price list from Hobie. It will serve as an excellent reference.
Q8 Try Mumps. It ought to buy you a couple of weeks.
Q9 Whatever floats your boat!
We'll be looking for your review.