Five years after Kawasaki retired the “Final Edition” of its SX-R Jet Ski, guess what. It’s back. So now it looks like that whole “stand-up Jet Ski” fad isn’t over after all!
Kawasaki has the copyright on “Jet Ski” because they’re basically responsible for making personal watercraft as we know them popular. The early Jet Skis were hardcore little hulls you stood on and squeezed to race around buoys and do tricks with.
MAXIMUM POWER, am I right?!
Yes, the watercraft in Wave Race 64 were officially licensed Kawasaki Jet Skis.
Anyway, as time wore on jet skis got just as fat and bloated as every other vehicle. Today most are three-passenger limousines with gauges and cup holders and I believe Yamaha is the only outfit selling stand-up single-passenger jet skis (though they would insist on calling them “watercraft.”)
Anecdotally a Yamaha executive I’ll allow to remain anonymous told me last month that his company didn’t even like making two person watercraft because the market wasn’t big enough. I’m pretty sure they’d cram five people onto one if the Coast Guard would allow it.
So Kawasaki getting back into the “competition-style” ’ski is interesting for the industry. Sure, people are still racing the stand-ups but it’s a fragmental segment of the market. It will be interesting to see what this reborn 2017 SX-R does for the watercraft market. Sure would be a (relatively) cheap way to do a spec boat racing series!
Actually, that might be what they mean in their retro promo by “competition ready.”