Sterndrive boatbuilders who want a surf boat in their arsenal have but a single choice of propulsion, Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive. How they enhance and direct their wakes, however, is a different story. Most opt for surf-oriented trim tabs, but Chaparral has licensed technology from one of the big-gun tow-sports manufacturers — Malibu’s Surf Gate.
Surf Gate consists of a pair of vertically oriented tabs that lie flush with the swim platform. In use, either the port or starboard tab pivots outward to disrupt the convergence point of water coming off the hull side, thus creating a surf-friendly wake. Ballast, gate activation, speed control, even engine and audio functions are all accessed through a 7-inch Medallion touchscreen centrally located on the dash. In addition to passenger weight, further ballast can be added via optional ballast bags.
The 23 H2O’s cockpit layout follows a classic bowrider formula. Forward, the bow cockpit is squared off to maximize seating, with stowage below both port and starboard seats, and a cooler with drainage to the bilge under the center cushion. In the main cockpit, captain and passenger get individual seats, both with flip-up bolsters. The remainder of the cockpit is ringed by a U-shaped bench and spacious gull-wing sun pad. Raise the pad’s starboard cushion for a transom walk-over that will keep passengers from stepping on the vinyl. Raise the port cushion to fashion a recliner. Aft, the nearly 2-foot-deep swim platform offers plenty of space for riders to don their gear, or for swimmers to hang out at anchor or at the sandbar.
Stowage is found below nearly all seats, accessed by removing the seat cushions. Additional storage is found in the helm and port consoles. An anchor locker, which has clips for a Danforth-style anchor, is ready at the bow.
The 280 hp Volvo Penta V-6 pushed our test boat onto plane in just 4 seconds and topped out at 47.5 mph. The Forward Drive design also provided nimble and surefooted handling, moving the pivot point forward and positioning the twin counter-rotating props in clean water.
- Extended V-Plane running surface enhances low-speed stability, improves fuel economy.
- Standard folding arch tower with gas assist.
- Sirius-ready sound system with AM/FM, Bluetooth and aux port.
Price: $67,215 (as tested)
How We Tested
Engine: Volvo Penta V6-280-FWD
Drive/Props: Forward Drive/K4 Propset
Gear Ratio: 2.32:1
Fuel Load: 45 gal.
Crew Weight: 375 lb.
Chaparral Boats – Nashville, Georgia; 229-686-7481; chaparralboats.com