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Does Arctic Cat Make Jet Skis? [Video]
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Has Arctic Cat ever made jet skis? – We get this question more often than almost any other, and the answer is yes! It’s a lesser-known fact that Arctic Cat manufactured jet skis from 1978 through the late ‘90s. These machines were marketed under the brand names of Wetbike and Tigershark.
If you want to find out more about Arctic Cat jet skis, you’ve come to the right place.
We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know about these skis under one roof!
Does Arctic Cat Make Jet Skis These Days?
Arctic Cat’s Wetbike
The first Arctic Cat jet ski was released under the brand name Wetbike. This machine was built by Spirit Marine, one of Arctic Cat’s subsidiaries.
As the name suggests, the company manufactured outboard engines, engine oils, and various marine-related products besides the Wetbike. In later years, various other licensed manufacturers built the Wetbike.
This unique Arctic Cat PWC hit the market in 1978 and remained in production until 1982. Unlike regular jet skis, it didn’t utilize a boat-like hull.
Instead, it ran on two hydrofoils and featured a front steering system. Surprisingly, the Wetbike was powered by 50 HP (later 60 HP) Suzuki jet ski engines.
Due to its motorcycle-like design, it was harder to launch and ride than other conventional PWCs.
Because of this, even if this machine was the fastest PWC during its time, it couldn’t keep up with the growing popularity of rival jet skis. Eventually, production of the Wetbike was stopped after the 1992 model year.
Arctic Cat Tigershark Jet Skis
Just one year after the Wetbike disappeared from the marketplace, Arctic Cat jet skis made a comeback under the brand name Tigershark.
Unlike their motorcycle-like predecessors, these machines already featured regular V-shaped planing hulls. They were also powered by Suzuki engines, just like all other Arctic Cat vehicles at that time.
These skis were lightweight and affordable, but they were also known for poor reliability and durability. In the first model year, Arctic Cat offered only one Tigherhsark model, but the offering evolved into an entire fleet over the years.
Throughout the seven years of production, the manufacturer offered 20 different models with a wide variety of hull and engine options.
Interestingly, some of these models were sold as “Suzuki jet skis” in certain parts of Europe and Japan. At that time, Arctic Cat wasn’t a well-known name overseas, and local dealers wanted to take advantage of the popular Suzuki brand name.
The Tigershark lineup also saw some significant improvements in the 1997 model year. But unfortunately, even this development could not save the brand.
When Did Arctic Cat Stop Making Jet Skis?
To the greatest regret of many fans, Arctic Cat stopped making jet skis after the 1999 model year.
However, the American manufacturer did not lose all contact with the PWC world!
Arctic Cat vs. Sea-Doo Lawsuit
As reported by Arctic Insider, Arctic Cat Inc. sued the Canadian Sea-Doo for patent infringements. In the ‘90s, Arctic Cat engineered a patented OTS (Off-Throttle Steering) system designed to produce steering ability in off-throttle situations.
After Arctic Cat left the PWC business, Sea-Doo released its off-throttle steering system, known as OPAS. This system was clearly inspired by the patented inventions of Arctic Cat, which led to a lawsuit between the two manufacturers.
According to the judge for the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Florida, BRP willfully infringed on these patents, so Arctic Cat Inc. was awarded $46.7 million in damages.
Conclusion – Does Arctic Cat Make Jet Skis These Days?
To the greatest regret of many fans, Arctic Cat doesn’t currently make jet skis. However, the American manufacturer offered jet skis from 1978 through the late ‘90s under the names of Wetbike and Tigershark.
Although these skis were sporty and affordable machines, they gained a reputation for poor durability and reliability.
Because of this, they never really become popular and after the 1999 season, Arctic Cat jet skis disappeared from the market forever.
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