Looking to add market share, Chaparral Boats just announced it has licensed Malibu Boats’ Surf Gate technology for use on its line of stern drive runabouts. Adding Surf Gate systems to its boats will help Chaparral take advantage of one of the major growth markets in water sports: wake surfing. According to Chaparral marketing manager Martin Rusin, Chaparral will incorporate Surf Gate into five of its models: the 246 SSI, 227 and 257 SSX runabouts, and the 244 and 264 Sunesta deck boats.
Surf Gate system uses hydraulically operated vertical tabs on the transom mounted nearly parallel with the hull sides. On a boat equipped with Surf Gate, there’s no need for passengers to pile up on one side to lean the boat and affect the wave.
“Building Chaparrals with our version of Malibu’s patented wakesurfing technology is a game changer,” said Buck Pegg, Chaparral's Founder and Executive Vice President. “It is exciting to introduce wakesurfing to our stern drive customers.”
Wakesurfing behind a stern-drive runabout wasn’t really feasible before Volvo Penta introduced its Forward Drive, which puts the twin, counter-rotating propellers in front of the skeg. In addition to using Volvo Penta’s drive technology, Chaparral added a ballast system that adds about 1,000 pounds of water weight and included a Medallion Viper II touch-screen system to control it all.
“It’s a seven-inch touch-screen display and it not only controls the Surf Gate system and our ballast controls, but it also controls GPS speed, cruise control, engine management functions, depthfinder and the stereo, so it’s got several different features to go along with it,” Rusin said.
Chaparral approached Malibu about licensing Surf Gate. The primary value to the marketplace is that buyers can get into a stern-drive boat in which they can go wake surfing for less than the cost of full-blown inboard, the prices of which now can top six figures.
“This license will help introduce even more people to the fun of wake surfing, and to Chaparral’s version of Malibu’s wake surfing technology, which produces the most amazing waves for that sport,” said Malibu Boats CEO Jack Springer.
The new Chaparrals will join stern-drive models from other manufacturers geared toward wakesurfing. For example, Four Winns debuted its TS222 and TS242 a couple of years ago at the Miami International Boat Show. Likewise, the Monterey Roswell Surf Editions 218 and 238 debuted this year in Miami. These four models all use the Volvo Penta Forward Drive. Currently, Chaparral is the only boat manufacturer with the license to use Surf Gate technology.
Chaparral also redesigned the hulls designated for use with Surf Gate. The company added a pad on the aft end of the transom, under the swim platform. The pad helps shape the wake and keep the boat on plane at low wake surfing speeds, about 10 MPH or so. When the boat is being driven normally, the device doesn’t affect the performance because it’s out of the water when the boat is on plane, Rusin said.
“One of the best features of our boat is that there’s not a lot of setup to it,” Rusin said. “So you set your Surf Gate on the side you want to surf on, you set your ballast, set your desired speed and off you go.”
For more information, visit Chaparral.