Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Features - The Diablo Chupacabra

The Diablo Paddlesports Chupacabra arrived a couple weeks ago and I've had it out on the pond a few times working it out.  I took a few minutes to photograph it feature by feature to walk through what's cool about this SUP-Yak.

A little background before I get started on this initial review.  I've been tracking the goings on with Diablo Paddlesports for over the past couple years and it's been neat to see this company grow  in recognition while expanding their line up of offerings to two kayaks with the Adios and it's little green brother the Chupacabra.

I saw the Diablo Paddlesports kayaks last year at IFTD, met the minds behind the company, and immediately liked the layout and design of their kayaks...especially the green on green Chupacabra.  It is a great size, has just enough room, and thought it might be perfect for the ponds that I typically fish along with runs down to the coast as well looking for redfish.

The Chupacabra is unique as a SUP-kayak that it only measures 10'5" in length and has a 37 inch width to help give it stability.  Think short and wide.  It weighs in at 56 pounds, which doesn't make it the lightest, but is easily manageable in and out of the back of the Element.  It is really is not to tough getting it on and off the roof rack either.

The front hatch is a neat feature to the Chupacabra and besides being an excellent place to keep all your kayak's accessories when not in use, it makes for good dry storage for long days on the water and even possible extended trips as well.

The space is surprisingly roomy and I don't think it would be impossible to fit gear for an overnight trip with some careful planning.

Honestly, I don't like to drill holes in kayaks and one of the benefits to the design of the Diablo Paddlesports kayaks is that the smooth surfaces work well with RAM mount accessories which use heavy duty suction cups to securely hold the item to the deck of the kayak.

There are carry handles (count five) in all the right places on the Chupacabra and make carrying it easy for one person or with the aid of someone else.

The deck of the Chupacabra is a large open space that gives you options for installing several different seat options or leave it clean to paddle standing up the entire time.  I've opted largely to consider it a SUP-Yak and stay standing up unless I'm changing out flies or taking a fish off the hook.

The large foam padded areas are a comfortable platform to stand on for long periods of time or to kneel on as well.

Due to the Chupacabra being just over ten feet long it's very easy to access the front of the kayak when on the water and gear is not as spread out as they might be in a longer kayak.  The dry storage area and rear storage area are just an arms length away at all times.

The metal frame Larry Chair is one of three seating options for the Chupacabra and allows the paddler to sit up a few inches higher off the deck of the kayak.

The Larry Chair folds down and can be stored in an included mesh bag which easily fits in the front dry storage area of the kayak when not in use.

The underside photo of the Chupacabra gives you a bit of insight on what makes this kayak so stable.  It's also a hint that the Chupacabra might not be the fastest kayak (which it isn't) but I'll give up speed for the ability to easily stand while paddling and casting.

The deck area of the Chupacabra is ported which means that you'll have water moving in and out of the deck port areas of the kayak when it's on the water.  Water that is taken on while paddling will funnel down to these areas of the kayak as well.

I was excited to see that the YETI Coolers Roadie 20 fits easily in the rear storage area of the Chupacabra and I foresee it making several day long river trips with us this summer.

The William Joseph Conduit Gear Bag also fits nicely in this storage space and has become my go to kayak and boat bag to carry everything that I need when on the water.  I just need to figure a way to lash or bungee the gear bag to the deck to keep it secure in case I were to flip the kayak for any reason.

Overall I am quite impressed with the Chupacabra and it fills a niche in our current kayak stable which includes a Native Ultimate 14.5 Tandem and a Liquid Logic Versa Board.  I am finding that no kayak can do it all and it's certainly nice to have options.

The Chupacabra has been branded with a T.F.M. decal...and I'm keeping it.

For more information check out the Diablo Paddlesports website, Facebook, or Twitter pages.


Morgan R. Buckert said...

This thing looks sweet and I love boats that are Element sized! I also love that a Texas company is making a boat called the Chupacabra even though my aunt is the crazy Chupacabra lady in Texas...

Cameron Mortenson said...

Morgan...Element sized is great. Our other kayaks really hang out of the back of it so the Chupacabra is a good fit.

The Jersey Angler said...

Thanks for the review. This is one boat I need to check out!