No Wheel Thursday: Standup Jet Skis Going Extinct In 18 Months

Okay, so personal watercraft aren’t cars, and they don’t go on roads. But they’re still hoontastic, internal combustion fun.
Unfortunately, “standups,” the smallest, purest and most demanding type of personal watercraft are hearing voices telling them to walk toward the light. There are a number of riflemen standing before them in their firing squad:

  • “Couches” — Standups were the original PWC and still have a uniquely intense army of rabid fanbois, but they lost the sales war to their easier to master, more versatile sit-down brethren. Today the two remaining standups in production (Kawasaki’s SXR800 and the Yamaha Super Jet) make up only a tiny fraction of PWC sales and have not seen major updates in years.
  • The EPA — the two-stroke engines stand-ups rely on for their light weight and instant throttle response belch lots very eco-hostile hydrocarbons and greenhouse gasses and soot.
  • The Economy — Yes, you can build a fatter, more complicated standup around a four-stroke engine. The European Hydrospace concern sold one for a few years, but their ski was big and expensive, sold in small numbers, and recently went belly-up. Boat and PWC sales have been some of the hardest hit during the current economic downturn, making a poor business case for enhanced new standup designs. Neither Yamaha nor Kawasaki have any current plans to develop four-stroke standups.
  • Current Standup Riders— Two-strokes have a nifty feature: unlike four-strokes, they don’t seize if you turn them upside down while they’re running. Because of this, and two-strokes’ superior power-to-weight ratio, the freestyle PWC crowd who spend their time mastering all sorts of inverted tricks (which is the overwhelming majority of riders still sold on standups) don’t want a four-stroke standup. Most of them mod the heck out of their skis, and wouldn’t want the expense and complexity of a poppet-valve engine, either.

Read the full article at the Powersports Business website.

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    This doesn't hurt as a reason either 260HP, 970lbs!
    Near Hayabusa levels of performance on the water.
    I had an old Yamaha Waverunner III with only about 40HP with its 2-stroke it was only slightly underpowered but still a heck of a lot of fun. I know I don't have the physical abilities or skill to try a stand-up.

  2. Alff Avatar

    I didn't realize they still made these. I learned to ride PWC on the original jetskis and have to say they are more fun but less practical than their successors.

  3. FreeMan Avatar

    I will admit to being lost by most of the tags…

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Boats: they're like cars, but they go on the water rather than the land, and don't have wheels on the corners.
      Boating: the activity of traveling in a boat.
      Personal watercraft: the generic name for small jet-drive powerboats that have an external seat and handlebars for the operator — what you would probably call a jetski or waverunner.
      PWC: the usual abbreviation for 'personal watercraft'
      Powersports: The generic industry term for ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, scooters, and personal watercraft
      Kawasaki: the manufacturer of the first modern PWC.
      Jet ski: Kawasaki's brand name for their personal watercraft line.
      Yamaha: A major producer of PWCs
      Superjet: The brand name of the standup PWC made by Yamaha.
      Two stroke: A type of engine that routes intake gasses through the lower end of the crankcase before entering the combustion chamber. Produces power every downstroke of the piston.
      Emissions: dangerous stuff that comes out of the exhaust pipe. Disliked by the government, environmentalists, and the actual environment. Two-stroke engines produce a lot of these.
      Ring-da-ding-da-ding-ding-ding: onomatopoeia of the sound a two-stroke engine makes
      No; We Kahn't: wordplay on the Hooniverse "Yes We Kahn" category. 'Cause, you know, the whole thing is ending.

      1. Sparky Avatar

        A tag that isn't in the article:
        River Lice: Alternate term for jet ski, a device equally as annoying, toxic and fast-breeding as swarms of land-based lice.

  4. earn points prizes Avatar

    It is weird just how many websites there are about this topic I don’t know if I’ll need to be back, but it’s good to know I found the one that has a little practical info if this should come up for me another time.

  5. after hours stock trading hours Avatar

    Hey, I’m here for the very first time. I located this blog and I’m discovering it definitely helpful. It has made it easier for me, so thank you.

  6. weener Avatar

    stand up jetskis are the bestist. yay

  7. ernst Avatar

    crazy what you tell here,……in march still comes the new line of standup out,…..also from hydrospace,….now benelli,….standups with 135 hp and 185 hp,….yes standups!!!,….and if you know anything about,….you will know, the last years worldchampionship winning ski´s was mosttime 4 stroke ski´s,…hydrospace ski´s,…..i think,….min 20 titels???,….
    so please write what is, not only what you wish,….
    a standup-racer

  8. Scott Stanford Avatar
    Scott Stanford

    I learned on a stand up ski back in the 80's. Most fun I ever had. I found the sit down skis were a bit boring. I was going to get back into riding, but learned the stand ups (2 stokers) were banned on most water ways in California.

  9. Jetskifan Avatar

    Thx for a good post. I'd like to invite you to our Jet Ski Club, where we share experiences, stories, tips and ideas with other people like you. You'll be glad to discover our jet ski adventures, please click this link. Be ready for your next adventure! I'd like to know your suggestions on pwc fishing as well.