Is this a defect, or did Hobie just recently start adding this? Kinda bummed and hoping someone could help me out. Thanks!
I believe Hobie is phasing in scupper reinforcements as a rolling change one model at a time, since the molds have to be pulled out of service for modification.
Whereas scupper reinforcement is a nice feature, it is mostly an "insurance" mod to protect the boats from mishandling, not defects. I've had 8 Hobie kayaks over the past 11 years and never had a scupper problem. You shouldn't have any issues with your scuppers either as long as you make sure they are inserted properly before using.