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The Past, Present & Future of Jet Skis

The Past, Present & Future of Jet Skis

Jet skis have become increasingly popular up and down the length of the Gold Coast, especially as the mild waves of the Broadwater make it the perfect playground for these high performance personal watercrafts. Over the last sixty years, the jet ski has come a long way from its experimental beginnings, and it still has plenty of innovation left in the tank, as we can see from the new features arriving this year and beyond.


The Humble Beginnings

While the appeal of larger boats had been understood for centuries, the idea of powered personal watercraft was still science fiction in the 1950s. It was the British motorcycle manufacturer Vincent that first made the jet ski a reality in 1955, with its propeller-powered watercraft dubbed the “Amanda”.

A decade later, in the 1960s, a Byron Bay motocross enthusiast, Clayton Jacobson II, was experimenting with adding in the pump jet propulsion that is now commonplace in today’s jet skis. Clayton’s design was used as the template for the first commercially released Sea Doo in 1968. This original concept was then modified into the standing Jet Ski by Kawasaki in 1973, which went on to become a global sensation. It is a testament to the success of this model, which Kawasaki has trademarked “Jet Ski” brand, that it has become the default description for today’s craft.


This Summer’s Models

For anyone interested in carving through the waves during this sunny season with a new jet ski, we have taken a look at three of this summer’s hottest models.


Sea Doo RXP-X 300

Starting with the Sea Doo, you can rest assured the brand has come a long way since that early 1968 model. The current RXP-X 300 provides many improvements for riders, but the most notable one is the engine’s impressive power-to-weight ratio. The 300HP Rotax 1630 ACE engine delivers 1G of acceleration, allowing it to go from zero to its top speed of 96kph in a blistering 3.9 seconds.

As well as the improved engine, you will notice a host of other refinements in the RXP-X, including more responsive braking, tighter turning thanks to a redesigned hull, and an easier to grip seat. Now that last one may sound trivial but anyone who has ridden the older models will know how often you slip backward while accelerating and cornering, forcing you to constantly readjust your position. By narrowing the seat, it makes it a lot easier to grip with your legs, which increases your control and reduces your fatigue.


Yamaha FX Cruiser SVHO

The Yamaha’s flagship model, the FX Cruiser SVHO, has speed and acceleration nothing short of extraordinary, allowing it to easily outpace other brands in its class. The 1.8-litre Super Vortex High Output engine can propel the SVHO from zero to 96kph in just 2.6 seconds, and a top speed of over 110kph.

Yamaha’s proprietary “RiDE” dual throttle technology is another impressive feature, allowing the jet ski to propel water in two directions. This enables it to perform some neat tricks, like being able to sit stationary, instead of forcing you to do slow donuts like other models do. The dual throttle can also help you slow down rapidly by angling water diagonally towards the front.


Kawasaki Ultra 310LX

It was not so long ago that the noise of jet skis was a common complaint. But the sound of Kawasaki’s new Ultra 310LX will be music to your ears. This jet ski is the first to come with its own powerful sound system, capable of streaming music from your phone or USB, and turning it into crisp tunes via the waterproof dual 60-watt speakers.

Subtle but effective refinements to the seat ensure your comfort is always a priority. The seat boasts tiers to raise both riders and passengers, while providing back support. The heat resistant material of the seat will also be appreciated by anyone who has been scolded by jumping onto a jet ski that has been sitting in the sun too long. And no, the focus on music and comfort does not mean performance has been forgotten. The 310LX can easily reach speeds of just under 110kmph.


The Water Craft of Tomorrow: The Quadski

Tired of attaching your jet ski trailer to the back of your car and driving it to the nearest boat ramp? Well, then the Quadski will save you that hassle, while delivering a James Bond-style experience as it transforms from a quad bike into a jet ski in less than five seconds. While its transforming technology is breathtaking, it does come at the cost of speed. Unlike the 110kph speeds of the fastest jet skis, the Quadski tops out at just over 70kph on both water and land. And if you prefer motorcycles, the manufacturer is also working on a two-wheeled prototype called the Biski. It functions just like the Quadski, except the lighter weight enables it to reach an impressive 130kph on land and 60kph on water.


By Narayan Pattison



MAIN PHOTO: Courtesy of JetSki Shop

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