My 2 cents per your list -
i'm also a cross over kayaker - sup'er, still do both equally, thoughts..
--slower by 1/2-3/4 mph compared to kayaks of similar length and design
Depends on paddler and their forward stroke, displacement vs planning hull, and I can go as fast if not faster than a kayak at the same length.
--fin needed for tracking so more potential to hit bottom or catch weeds
Weed cutter style and flexible rubber fins do wonders in weeds, milfoil and kelp. I use the Protek rubber fins on all boards. I can take the board into 4" of water without balance or fin box issues. 3 fin setups also allow for shallow paddling as well as each fin is shorter than a longer single fin.
--more fragile because of light layups
Really? How about Bic's plastic boards, Tahoe's thermoform Bliss, Surftech's heavy layups on the French Universal sups and the new very stout B-1 exterior, Starboard's nearly bombproof technology, etc..
--don't respond to as wide a variety of turning strokes
Maybe not respond to every kayak stroke, but when's the last time you did a cross bow or pivot turn on a kayak?
--except while surfing, very little edging ability for turning
depends on the board and paddler. I edge all the time without any problem. boards with a lot of rocker turn on a dime edging. i also use edging to paddle on one side for long distances - try that on a kayak.
--less suited for cold weather or water
really, why? I paddle in cold weather daily in the Pacific NW in water as chilled as 42F which also includes surfing and tidal rapidsl. I've paddled a sup both upwind and down up to 35kts of wind. You're just as cold in a kayak as you are in a sup if you don't wear the right clothing. but you stay warmer on a sup since it's a full body exercise.
--less cargo capacity
using tie-downs and glassed in leash plugs the capacity can be the same. new boards are coming out with hatches. many are already doing self supported long expeditions on boards.
--more difficult up-wind paddling
only if standing. sit, knee, or prone paddle for upwind. prone paddling if you're in practice can be more efficient than kayaking as you have an even lower profile in the wind.
--need to develop balance over time
with a proper sized board for the ht and wt of the paddler balance shouldn't be a problem at all. my students get right up on boards i've matched to their size and have no balance issues even in bumpy water. it is however a passive way to build better balance for other things you do in life. moving to shorter boards for river or surfing does require developing balance - but good paddle technique helps you stay stable in various conditons.
Kayak Motor Kit
Touring Kayak Paddles
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