Great ideas, but I decided to use the 4" pool noodle piece and some 7/8" inside diameter high density foam for building custom rod grips. I just split the pool noodle so that it would slip over the cross member. I may take duct tape and wrap the noodle so it's secure. I took the high density foam and cut two 2" pieces and slipped those down the uprights as you can see.
Now the 4" pool noodle conforms perfectly to the hull spreading the load and at the same time, the high density foam pieces spread the load and cushion the scuppers. A little field testing this weekend should verify how good this will work.