It was a late day for the boat wrap-up test, so I was a little tired. Builders pondered as he sat in one of his seats as he rode his Chaparral 28, the latest in his surf series. Oh, God! These are really comfortable!
But that’s just the beginning of my love affair with 28 Surf. This is a great wake her surf boat that doesn’t give up the family comforts (especially the head) that many buyers expect from a runabout her boat. The 28 Surf is big enough to bring everyone in the neighborhood to her surf sessions.
A wide swim platform makes boarding easy, and a sturdy fiberglass walk-through gate to the cockpit keeps small children safe. It also allows the crew to board the boat without stepping on the seat upholstery, as they do on many watersport boats. The same parents who appreciate locking gates will also love the 32-inch gunwale height for security and to keep spray out.
interior and accessories
Our test boat was equipped with the Black Edition package ($8,045). It starts with a gleaming (and perfectly molded) black gelcoat crust, then adds a dazzling cayenne silicone black edging (Rolls-Royce, take note) and a quick-drying flow-through foam. The black accents continue on the windshield trim plus all the little details like the dash panel and ski mirrors. That’s it. This tower is electric and quickly folds down for trailering or low bridges. The package also upgrades the JL audio and equips the rudder and transom with controls.
It’s a few things that turn this from a fun family dayboat into a serious wakesurfing competitor. First, the single ballast tank holds 1,080 pounds. This is combined with a surf gate that allows you to traverse wakes from one side to the other, from normal feet to goofy feet at the touch of a button.
Engine choices include both Mercury and Volvo Penta. Equipped with a 380 hp Volvo V-8 with a forward-facing duo prop drive, it provided much of the performance of a traditional sterndrive while keeping the prop away from the transom and safer to surf. Running flat at 5,900 rpm, it topped out at 46 mph. More impressive is his 2.7 mpg, as he spends most of his time running around 25 mph. We got off the plane at a 10 mph surf speed and still posted nearly 2 mph.
The skipper gets a striking stitched vinyl dash and bucket seats behind the steering wheel, and there are two Simrad monitors under the eyebrows to prevent reflections. These Simrad 7-inch touchscreens are equipped with the Surf System, designed exclusively for Chaparral, to do it all. Set your boat trim with 6 profiles (surfer, wakeboard, ski, etc.), touch the screen to flip surf his gate back and forth, and set your speed to within 2 knots of his 10 minutes . It has a sonar transducer (never run aground) and a dedicated GPS (never get lost). The monitor also links with all Volvo Penta controls and displays. There is also a water temperature gauge to see if you really want to get in the water.
The console on the other side of the helm has a closed head with 48 inches of headroom for comfortable changing (you know what I mean). Our test boat had a Tecna electric toilet ($3,115) available, a sink, and a pull-out faucet for flushing privacy. I have.
The bow seats are plush, with folding armrests transforming the two seats into a stretched lounge. Between the forward and aft cockpits is a heavy-duty fiberglass windshield door that keeps water spray at bay. Hidden behind that door is an Isotherm refrigerator ($1,325) accessible to everyone, with a large locker on the floor that includes 6 plus his footer. All have deep grooves with liners and seals to keep rain and wash water out.
Along the way, 28 Surf creates smiles. It’s based on the hull of the 287 SSX sport boat, so you can just toss it, bank into turns, and ask for more. The props are hidden so far down that there’s no cavitation, so the only limit to your spinning speed is Aunt Edna’s screaming. And if you’re out for an afternoon chop, the 22-degree Deadrise will slice it into pieces and set it aside.
The aft cockpit has a Vista View lounge that converts from a forward-facing bench to a rear-facing lounge/sunpad with one hand. The transom also has a Chaparral Infinity Power Step that unfolds to provide seating both at water level and when submerged at 1ft, allowing easy access to the water while picking up surfers or sitting on a sandbar .
Optional JL Audio speakers ($2,650) are everywhere: in the tower, forward, backward, beside the captain’s ankles, for full bath massage.
If you’re shopping, take a look at the Cobalt R8 Surf (retail $224,167, powered like our test boat). It also features a flip-up swim platform seat.
Simply put, the Chaparral 28 Surf is a great surf boat, a great sport boat, and a great family boat.
- Infinity Power Step — Wow!
- All lockers are fully lined and the lifting hatches have stanchions to prevent pinching your fingers.
- All normal service points are located at the front of the engine for easy fluid checking.
- Companion glove box is not waterproof. Don’t throw your phone in without looking.
- Sharp corners of the folding windshield.
- The phone holder on the handle is too small for some phones.
- engine: Volvo Penta V-8 2.0 EVC 2.32 DP FFD 380 hp catalytic
- Drive/Props: Forward Drive/K4 Duoprop stainless steel propeller set
- Gear ratio: 2.32:1 Fuel load: 50 gallons. Water on board: 0 gallons. Crew Weight: 450 lbs.
price and specs
|Lore:||28 feet 0 inches|
|beam:||8 feet 6 inches|
|Draft (above):||2 feet 7 inches|
|Displacement:||5,900 pounds (approximately)|
|Transom Deadrise:||22 degrees|
|Bridge clearance:||6’0″ (tower down)|
|Maximum cabin headroom:||4 feet 0 inches|
|Fuel capacity:||80 gallons.|
|Available power:||Single Mercury Bravo 4 or Volvo Penta Forward Drive Strendlive 430 hp|
speed, efficiency, operation
chaparral boat – Nashville, Georgia; chaparralboats.com