Chaparral Boats expands its Surf series with a 28’ (8.53 m) offering that can be upgraded to the Black Edition. She’s a luxury bowrider with a forward-facing sterndrive and wake-shaping equipment licensed from Malibu Boats.
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Load||4 persons; 32 gal. fuel; 50 lbs. gear|
|Climate||74 deg.; 83 humid.; winds: 0-5; seas: calm|
1 x 430-hp Volvo Penta V8 Forward Drive
Captain's Report by Eric Colby
The mission of the Chaparral 28 Surf is to be a super-sized luxury bowrider with the ability to serve up custom wakes for surfing. She comes with a forward-facing stern drive from Volvo Penta or MerCruiser, wake-shaping appendages licensed from Malibu and twin multifunction displays from SIMRAD that control the wakes and provide all the engine and navigation information a captain needs. The Black Edition includes the black bottom and hullsides and windshield frame and soft Envision silicone cayenne upholstery that’s available in six colors.
Chaparral Boats 28 Surf Black Edition Main Features
- Twin 7” (17.78) SIMRAD NSS EVO3 displays
- Malibu Surf Gates
- Ballast system
- Optional Black Hardtop
- Envision cool-touch upholstery
- Infinity Power Step on swim platform
- Convertible aft seating
Chaparral Boats 28 Surf Black Edition Performance
Surfing. SIMRAD has partnered with Chaparral to provide an exclusive interface with the surf features. Either of the two 7” (17.78 cm) NSS EVO3 displays can be used to interact between the engine, the boat for speed, the trim functions, the 1,080 lb. (489.88 kg) center-mounted ballast sack and the surf gates that can be changed from side to side on the fly. Additionally, a captain can load up to six pre-programmed profiles for surfing, skiing and wakeboarding. Taking a closer look at the interface, the ballast control takes about 10 minutes to fill. The preset surfing profiles are to the right at the top of the screen and adjustments can be made to these as desired. Touch one of the profile buttons and the wakes will adjust accordingly. Speed is controlled by GPS.
The Numbers. The 28 Surf is available with a forward-facing sterndrive from MerCruiser or Volvo Penta and our test boat had the latter’s 430-hp V8 with the forward drive spinning twin counter-rotating stainless steel props about 2’ (0.61 m) forward of the stern. Our test boat topped out at 48.3 mph at 5700 rpm. Best cruise came at 4000 rpm and 31.3 mph, where she burned 11.9 gph, which translated to 2.6 mpg and a range of 190 statute miles with 10 percent of the boat’s 80-gallon (302.83-liter) fuel capacity held in reserve. At a surfing speed of about 9 to 10 mph, her endurance was 11.1 hours and that’s a full day on the water.
In maneuvers, the forward-facing drive responds more quickly than a conventional sterndrive, so keep quick directional changes in check. It’ll take a seasoned driver a couple of turns to get used to, but it’s a pretty quick adaptation. When the wind picked up at the end of test day and we were heading back in, the boat’s size and V-bottom helped her flatten the chop handily.
The Helm. In addition to the aforementioned twin SIMRAD screens, the 28 Surf Black Edition’s helm features a non-glare black dash. Electrical switches run down both sides of tilt steering wheel and to save space, the pop-out circuit breakers are ahead of the driver’s knee. Like the companion seat to port, the bucket at the helm has a flip bolster and the controls for adjusting height or sliding fore and aft up front. In the starboard gunwale are the stereo control and Volvo Penta digital throttle and shift. If an owner chooses the MerCruiser Bravo Four S, the 280 Surf will have the Medallion touchscreen in place of one of the SIMRAD units.
The Bow. Moving forward, the central passage to the bow is 23” (58.42 cm) wide and can close with a plastic air dam that lies flush to the starboard console when open. When it is open, there’s access to the console storage with a pull-out drawer. The bow is laid out in the usual shape, but Chaparral goes next level by carrying the beam farther forward that results in the seats being 26” (66.04 cm) apart. The bolsters are a full 18” (45.72 cm) tall, the seatbacks are contoured and include diamond stitching and flip-up armrests. As we saw throughout the boat, there’s nonskid SeaDek matting. Full-length grab rails run the length of the bow on each side and stainless-steel beverage holders and stereo speakers are in the gunwales. There’s storage under the side bottom cushions that are hinged at the rear. Under the forward center cushion, there’s a nonskid step for bow boarding and underneath is a built-in self-draining cooler. A side-mount pedestal base accommodates the optional table. The anchor is in a locker in the bow and a windlass is an available option. Pull-up cleats and a flip-up nav light create a flush foredeck if anyone wants to board from the beach.
Chaparral 28 Surf Black Edition Cockpit
Heading aft, when we return to the cockpit, the port console opens the private head compartment. It comes standard with a porta-potti and the porcelain electric flush toilet in our test boat is an available option. A mirror is on the forward bulkhead and to port is a sunk with a pull-up shower and an opening port. Overall headroom is 46” (116.84 cm) with 33” (83.82 cm) above the toilet seat.
Cockpit Seating. Abaft the companion bucket seat, an L-shaped start wraps around the port side of the cockpit and across the stern where it meets the passage to the stern. There’s storage under the port side bottom cushion. A side-mount cockpit table adds to the utility and stores in a dedicated drawer in the under-deck storage compartment. The Envirion Silicone upholstery and SeaDek matting stay cool even on hot days. Abaft the helm seat is a bench seat with a 36-quart carry-on cooler underneath. Overhead, the optional Black Edition hardtop that’s 8’6” (2.59 m) long and has 74 “ (187.96 cm) of headroom. It has two 21” (53.34 cm) x 42” (106.68 cm) opening skylights. It lowers electrically for trailing, to clear a bridge or possibly fit into a garage.
The Engine Hatch opens with a latch under the aft seat. The Volvo Penta engine has closed cooling and there’s plenty of space to each side for maintenance. All checkpoints like the dipstick and oil filter are on the front of the engine to make fluid checks easy.
One of the two convertible backrests for the aft seat has a handle on top. Give it a pull and the aft cushion can be pulled all the to the rear until it lies flat. Then pull the front backrest forward to turn the lounge into an aft-facing chaise that measures 50” (127 cm) x 49” (124.46 cm). Alongside the seat to starboard is the passage to the stern. It’s 13” (33.02 cm) wide and has access to the battery switches and master breakers. There’s also a pull-out shower in the starboard gunwale.
The swim platform has Chaparral’s coveted Infinity Power Step that facilitates reboarding and provides an ideal spot for passengers to hang out and stay cool in the water when the boat is at rest. It’s finished in the same SeaDek matting as the rest of the boat.
The Black Edition isn’t an inexpensive upgrade, but for a family that wants a luxury wakesurfing boat, it could be worth it, especially the hardtop. The standard package comes with an EFX Folding Arch Tower with color-matched inserts and a Bimini top or an electric folding arch tower. The partnership with SIMRAD is significant for the amount of information it provides and for easier servicing. Regardless of which engine manufacturer is chosen, the trim-ability of a sterndrive compared to an inboard enhances the boat’s versatility.