As of this morning, the highly sought-after product The Hookcups is available for pre-sale orders at a 20-percent discount. If you haven’t heard of the relatively new boat buffer product, here’s some insight and backstory into the product that makes rafting up easier.
Designed to make rafting up with fellow boaters easier, The Hookcups are now available for pre-order sales online.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Santa Barbara sheriff’s department deputy Steven Gonzales suffered a work-related injury during SWAT training less than two years ago, many boaters up and down the Colorado River (and presumably more in the near future) would not have ever experienced the joy of The Hookcups. Being forced to take off work because of the torn ligaments and cartilage in both of his hands was not easy for the Santa Paula, Calif., boating enthusiast, who owns an Eliminator Boats 28 Fun Deck powered by a MerCruiser 496 Mag engine. Yet because of it, his mind began racing and he came up with a relatively simple and very useful idea that he thought his fellow boaters would appreciate—a new form of bumpers called The Hookcups.
Based on a two-by-two suction cup design, The Hookcups, which float, weigh 3 pounds each and come in a variety of color choices, attach to the flat side of a boat’s hull and connect to an adjoining boat via the pair of 4 1/2-inch-diameter suction cups on the opposite end.
Constructed of billet aluminum tubing with two suction cups on each side of the housing that swivel up and down, The Hookcups are 22 inches long with the suction cups extended out and two inches shorter than that with the suction cups turned in. The width of each mechanism is 13 inches, while the height is 3 inches when the suction cups, which holds the vessel securely, are in a face-down position.
“I used to have a jetboat and because it sat so low in the water, buoys and bumpers didn’t usually do the job if I wanted to raft-up with anyone,” Gonzales explained. “The boat didn’t have any cleats, so I would have to tie off to my steering column and ski pole in order to hook up to other boats. That’s where my head was when I came up with the idea for The Hookcups. I was kind of just screwing around with it and it took off from there.”
Of course, Gonzales said none of this would be possible without the support of his wife, Charlene, and their daughter, Kinleigh. He said Charlene was the one who encouraged him to move forward with his idea and pursue the business head on. And, since coming up with the concept, launching it in early 2020 to overwhelming success and then running into COVID-19 production delays, he’s teamed up with a few people who have helped him fine-tune the manufacturing—and marketing—of the product, leading to today’s website relaunch and pre-sale offer for the new second-generation model.
For boats less than 30 feet, Gonzales, who plans to participate in the Desert Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., in late April, recommends a couple of The Hookcups—one at the rear and the other in the center. For boats longer than 30 feet, he recommends three. He also said that the devices are made for calmer water conditions, such as rafting up at sandbars or in coves, not for use in the ocean or rough waterways.
Check out the slideshow above for more examples of The Hookcups in use.
Gonzales already has a design patent and utility patent on the product, which he said has improved dramatically from the initial prototypes. The products are built with billet aluminum and now include a removable head. Gonzales said they also have a new dock cleat attachment available.
If you’re interested in getting hooked up, take advantage if the company’s 20-percent off pre-sale using the code SUMMER21. Check out www.thehookcups.com. They come in a variety of colors sure to match your lifestyle. Custom color stitching and fabrics are available for an additional cost.