Brief History of Jet Ski's

The Jet Ski, personal watercraft, Ski-Doo (though the name is Sea-Doo), Waverunner, what ever name you want to call it is by far one of the most entertaining activities a person can do while on the water. The first ‘jet ski’ was invented by Clayton Jacobsen II of Arizona. It allowed a person to ski over the water without the use of a boat by way of jet propulsion, hence its name. Kawasaki (known better for its motorcycles) was the first to mass produce the Jet Ski® and named it such. Yamaha soon followed Kawasaki and came out with its Superjet which rivaled the Jet Ski, and still does today. The first models of Jet Ski’s were stand-ups, as people in the PWC trend call them, because in order to operate the machine you had to stand up, steer, and keep your balance. This was a feat that many people could not do and therefore had to be mastered and not user friendly.

In the late 1980’s sit-down watercrafts were engineered. Sit down watercrafts offered more stability, safety, and usability than the stand-ups. Since it can take someone close to a year (depending on water conditions) to master a stand-up, any person operating a sit down watercraft could operate it with ease. During this time Bombardier Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of popular snowmobiles and aircraft engines, created an affordable sit-down watercraft known as the Sea-Doo®. Bomabardier’s Sea-Doo® was a huge success and was the largest selling watercraft company in the world.

Personal watercraft’s aren’t used for just personal use but are also used for competition as well. Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda, Sea-Doo, and Polaris all have watercraft geared toward endurance racing, sprint racing, and Freestyle competitions. The big boom of these watercraft competitions was in the early 1990’s after the creation of the sit-down watercraft. As the years went on the sport has slowly lost its luster due to the fact that personal watercrafts are not the cleanest of gas using machines on the water. Due to changes in engine technology and with the watercraft being cleaner the personal watercraft industry is taking on another popular period despite activists groups trying to take them down.

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