30 Most Important Jet Skis Ever Made [Video]

Home/News/30 Most Important Jet Skis Ever Made [Video]

It’s safe to say that the 30 most important jet skis ever made are as follows:

  1. 1968 Bombardier Sea-Doo “Aqua Scooter”
  2. 1973 Kawasaki JS400
  3. 1978 Wet Bike
  4. 1982 Kawasaki JS550
  5. 1986 Yamaha WaveRunner 500
  6. 1986 Kawasaki X2
  7. 1988 Sea-Doo SP
  8. 1989 Kawasaki Jet Mate
  9. 1990 Yamaha SuperJet 650
  10. 1992 Polaris Sea Lion 650
  11. 1993 Yamaha WaveBlaster I
  12. 1997 Sea-Doo XP
  13. 1999 Yamaha SUV 1200
  14. 2002 Kawasaki STX-R
  15. 2002 Sea-Doo GTX 155
  16. 2002 Yamaha FX140
  17. 2002 Honda AquaTrax F-12X
  18. 2003 Kawasaki SX-R 800
  19. 2003 Sea-Doo GTX 4-TEC SC
  20. 2004 Sea-Doo RXP 215
  21. 2004 Sea-Doo 3D
  22. 2007 Yamaha GP1300R
  23. 2011 Kawasaki Ultra 300X
  24. 2014 Sea-Doo Spark
  25. 2017 Kawasaki SX-R 1500
  26. 2017 Yamaha GP1800
  27. 2018 Krash Footrocket
  28. 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro
  29. 2021 Yamaha 4-Stroke SuperJet
  30. 2022 Kawasaki Ultra 310LX

If you want to find out more about these jet skis, keep reading. We at JetDrift have compiled all the key specs and features of these models into this post!

The 30 Most Important Jet Skis Ever Made

1. 1968 Bombardier Sea-Doo “Aqua Scooter”

The world’s first mass-produced jet ski was the 1968 Bombardier Sea-Doo, also known as the Sea-Doo “Aqua Scooter.”

The first model was powered by an inefficient, 320cc air-cooled engine that was prone to overheating. Riders also complained about the ski’s uncomfortable seat and stainless steel handlebars, which lacked any padding.

Due to these design flaws, this first Sea-Doo never became commercially successful and disappeared from the marketplace after two years of production.

Key specifications of the 1968 Bombardier Sea-Doo:

  • Length: 7.5’
  • Width: 5’
  • Weight: 289 pounds
  • Engine: 320cc, 2-stroke, air-cooled, single-cylinder (1968)
  • Engine: 368cc, 2-stroke, water-cooled, twin (1969)
  • Top speed: 25 mph

2. 1973 Kawasaki JS400

The first commercially successful jet ski was the 1973 Kawasaki JS400. This nimble and agile stand-up jet ski instantly became popular among riders and created an entirely new market.

Key specifications of the 1973 Kawasaki JS400:

  • Length: 6’ 10”
  • Weight: 220 pounds
  • Engine: 436cc, 2-stroke, in-line twin
  • Performance: 24.5 HP

3. 1978 Wet Bike

The 1978 Wet Bike was one of the weirdest looking jet ski in history. It’s a lesser-known fact that the Wet Bike was one of the few Arctic Cat jet skis ever built!

Unlike its regular counterparts, this machine didn’t utilize a standard boat-like hull. Instead, it was run on two large hydrofoils and featured a motorcycle-like front steering system.

Riding it required many skills and a lot of practice, plus launching and retrieving it was also a big hassle. Yet, this model remained in production from 1978 through 1992.

Key specifications of the 1978 Wet Bike:

  • Length: 7.5’
  • Width: 2’
  • Floatation capacity: 600 pounds
  • Engine: 723cc, 50 HP, 2-stroke twin with two Mikuni carbs
  • Top speed: 32 mph

Key specifications of the 1985 Wet Bike:

  • Length: 7.5’
  • Width: 2’
  • Dry Weight: 350 pounds
  • Floatation capacity: 600 pounds
  • Engine: 798cc, 60 HP, 2-stroke twin with two Mikuni carbs
  • Top speed: 38 mph

4. 1982 Kawasaki JS550

Although the JS400 was the first Kawasaki jet ski ever made, the 1982 JS550 was the machine that made this sport widely popular.

Thanks to a stronger, 531cc power source and an improved mixed-flow jet pump, this model has become a long-time bestseller.

Over the years, more than 200,000 of these machines have been sold worldwide!  The JS550 saw many updates and remained in production until the 1990s.

Key specifications of the 1982 Kawasaki JS550:

  • Length: 7’
  • Width: 2’
  • Weight: 251 pounds
  • Engine: 530cc, 2-stroke, in-line twin
  • Performance: 36 HP

5. 1986 Yamaha WaveRunner 500

Two decades after the failure of the sluggish Bombardier Sea-Doo, Yamaha introduced the first WaveRunner, namely the 1986 WaveRunner 500. This machine became the world’s first commercially successful sit-down jet ski and remained in production through 1993.

The weird-looking WaveJammer also made its debut, but this tiny sit-down/stand-up hybrid did not gain the same popularity as the WR500.

Key specifications of the 1986 Yamaha WaveRunner 500:

  • Length: 109.1”
  • Width: 20.2”
  • Weight: 348 pounds
  • Engine: 496cc, 2-stroke, twin
  • Performance: 32 HP

6. 1986 Kawasaki X2

That same year, Kawasaki also revealed its first sit-down jet ski, the 1986 Kawasaki X2.

This amazing machine was built on a stand-up hull and featured a narrow seat, but it was ridden mainly in a standing position. To race these machines, the IJSBA created an entirely new race category for this ski, the “sports class.”

Key specifications of the 1986 Kawasaki X2:

  • Length: 86.8”
  • Width: 26.8”
  • Weight: 282.2 pounds
  • Engine: 635cc, 2-stroke, twin
  • Performance: 52 HP

7. 1988 Sea-Doo SP

In 1988, Sea-Doo PWCs returned with the all-new Sea-Doo SP (5801), featuring an advanced 20-degree V-hull design and a powerful 587cc Rotax engine.

Key specifications of the 1988 Sea-Doo SP:

  • Length: 119.3”
  • Width: 47.6”
  • Weight: 461 pounds
  • Engine: 587cc, 2-stroke, twin
  • Performance: 55 HP @ 5750 RPM

8. 1989 Kawasaki Jet Mate

The boat-like Kawasaki Jet Mate was revealed in 1989. This boat-jet ski hybrid featured a tub-shaped trimaran hull and a 52 HP, 2-stroke, twin power source.

Instead of handlebars, the vessel was controlled by a joystick and utilized two seats rated for three passengers. As you can imagine, these seats offered a bumpy ride on choppy waters!

Key specifications of the 1989 Kawasaki Jet Mate:

  • Length: 106.7”
  • Width: 60.2”
  • Weight: 527 pounds
  • Engine: 635cc, 2-stroke, twin
  • Performance: 52 HP @ 6000 RPM

9. 1990 Yamaha SuperJet 650

Yamaha entered the stand-up PWC market by revealing its 1990 SuperJet 650. This ski was intended to compete with the widely-popular Kawasaki stand-up jet ski.

Surprisingly, after many decades the 4-stroke version of this model is still available in Yamaha’s fleet!

Key specifications of the 1990 Yamaha SuperJet 650:

  • Length: 86.04”
  • Width: 28”
  • Dry Weight: 287 pounds
  • Engine: 633cc, 2-stroke, twin
  • Performance: 42 HP

10. 1992 Polaris Sea Lion 650

Polaris entered the PWC market in 1992 by launching the Sea Lion 650. Polaris jet skis remained in production until the mid-2000s.

Key specifications of the 1992 Polaris Sea Lion 650:

  • Length: 105.5”
  • Width: 45”
  • Dry Weight: 495 pounds
  • Engine: 647cc, 2-stroke, 3-cylinder Fuji
  • Performance: 68 HP at 6350 RPM

11. 1993 Yamaha WaveBlaster I

One of the most popular jet skis in history was arguably the 1993 Yamaha WaveBlaster I or WB 700.

It is not a surprise that this model was continued through three generations, with the WBII 96-98 and WB III 99-00.

This ski inherited many parts from the stand-up SuperJet, but it featured a tiny seat and offered a motorcycle-like riding experience. What’s more, this ski was capable of doing many sit-down jet ski tricks like power slides, spins, and even backflips under certain conditions (yes, really!).

The WaveBlaster still has a lot of fans who keep these vintage 2-stroke machines alive at all cost.

Key specifications of the 1993 Yamaha WaveBlaster 700:

  • Length: 95.7”
  • Width: 34.6”
  • Dry Weight: 320 pounds
  • Engine: 701cc, 2-stroke, twin
  • Performance: 63/73 HP

12. 1997 Sea-Doo XP IV

Although Sea-Doo released the XP series in 1991, the most iconic model in this line was arguably the 4th generation, 1997 Sea-Doo XP.

This machine was redesigned from scratch and got a more powerful, 110 HP engine option. Its responsive and playful hull and powerful engine made it popular among recreational riders, but the XP was also very successful on the race course as well.

After 13 years in production, the XP series was discontinued, but many features were carried on in the more advanced RXP-X.

Key specifications of the 1997 Sea-Doo XP IV:

  • Length: 107”
  • Width: 44”
  • Dry Weight: 525 pounds
  • Engine: 787cc, 2-stroke, twin
  • Performance: 110 HP

13. 1999 Yamaha SUV 1200

The first 4-stroke jet ski in the marketplace was the 1999 Yamaha SUV 1200, closely followed by the rivals Polaris Genesis 1200 and Sea-Doo LRV.

All of these skis were built on extremely large and stable hulls, featuring outstanding storage and fuel capacities. This is why many of these are still commonly used for jet ski fishing.

Even if these machines were rated for four riders, they actually only offered a comfortable ride for three adults or a family of four.

Key specifications of the 1999 Yamaha SUV 1200:

  • Length: 151.6”
  • Width: 59.5”
  • Dry Weight: 816 pounds
  • Engine: 1131cc, 2-stroke, triple
  • Performance: 135 HP

14. 2002 Kawasaki STX-R

The all-new 2002 Kawasaki STX-R brought the strengths of the existing Kawasaki PWC models under one roof. This model was virtually a race-replica jet ski designed for the average rider.

Its 1176cc triple power source produced an amazing performance of 145 HP, while its fiberglass hull was inherited from the flagship 1100 STX DI. The latter was lighter and equipped with race-inspired sponsons for a more aggressive attitude.

Key specifications of the 2002 Kawasaki STX-R:

  • Length: 122.8”
  • Width: 46.5”
  • Dry Weight: 904 pounds
  • Engine: 1176cc, 2-stroke, triple
  • Performance: 145 HP @ 7000 RPM

15. 2002 Sea-Doo GTX 155

The first 4-stroke Sea-Doo was the iconic 2002 GTX 155, powered by a 1494cc, 4-stroke, 3-cylinder Rotax engine.

This innovative and environmentally friendly power source exceeded all of the oncoming stricter EPA environmental standards and the GTX 155 was the most powerful PWC of that time.

The revolutionary closed-loop cooling and the O.P.A.S. off‑throttle steering assist systems were also debuted on this machine.

Key specifications of the 2002 Sea-Doo GTX 155

  • Length: 130.4”
  • Width: 48.1”
  • Dry Weight: 785 pounds
  • Engine: 1494cc, 4-stroke, triple
  • Performance: 155 HP

16. 2002 Yamaha FX140

To keep up with the competition, Yamaha also released its first 4-stroke WaveRunner, the FX140 featuring a 998cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, 140 HP engine.

Just like its power source, the hull of this ski was also designed from scratch. Unlike its smaller and more nimble predecessors, the FX140 was already a real 3-seater jet ski that could even accommodate three adult riders.

Key specifications of the 2002 Yamaha FX140

  • Length: 131.5”
  • Width: 48.4”
  • Dry Weight: 798 pounds
  • Engine: 998cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder
  • Performance: 140 HP

17. 2002 Honda AquaTrax F-12X

That same year, Honda entered the PWC market by introducing the AquaTrax F-12 and the turbocharged F-12X.

Both of these skis housed a 4-cylinder, 1235cc, 4-stroke engine that produced 125 or 160 HP, respectively.

Key specifications of the 2002 Honda AquaTrax F-12X:

  • Length: 10’6”
  • Width: 4’1”
  • Dry Weight: 721 pounds
  • Engine: 1235cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, turbocharged
  • Performance: 165 HP

18. 2003 Kawasaki SX-R 800

The innovative 2003 Kawasaki SX-R 800 completely revolutionized the stand-up jet ski market.

Thanks to its wide and lightweight hull, this ski was attractive for beginners, as reboarding this stable platform was much easier than its tipsy predecessors!

Also, the SX-R 800 was able to turn on a dime while its lively 80 HP engine offered very playful rides. It was capable of many stand-up tricks like jumps, barrel rolls, spins, or even submarines.

Therefore, this model satisfied the needs of every rider, from racers to beginners.

Many riders say that the SX-R 800 was the best stand-up jet ski at the time!

Key specifications of the 2003 Kawasaki SX-R 800:

  • Length: 90.6”
  • Width: 28.7”
  • Curb Weight: 397 pounds
  • Engine: 781cc, 2-stroke, twin
  • Performance: 80 HP

19. 2003 Sea-Doo GTX SC

The first supercharged jet ski in the marketplace was the 2003 Sea-Doo GTX SC.

This machine was powered by a supercharged 1949cc, 4-stroke, SOHC Rotax triple rated at 185 HP. In contrast, the naturally-aspirated version of this engine only produced 155 HP.

Key specifications of the 2003 Sea-Doo GTX 4-TEC SC:

  • Length: 130.4”
  • Width: 48.1”
  • Dry Weight: 790 pounds
  • Engine: 1494cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, supercharged
  • Performance: 185 HP

20. 2004 Sea-Doo RXP 215

Although the GTX SC claims to be the first supercharged Sea-Doo title, the most well-known early supercharged Sea-Doo is arguably the 2004 Sea-Doo RXP 215. This is no accident since this was the first model in the industry that exceeded the incredible 200 HP.

Key specifications of the 2004 Sea-Doo RXP 215:

  • Length: 10.08’
  • Width: 47.2”
  • Dry Weight: 790 pounds
  • Engine: 1494cc, 4-stroke, 3-cylinder, supercharged
  • Performance: 215 HP

21. 2004 Sea-Doo 3D

The 2004 Sea-Doo 3D was a unique jet ski in that it offered three different riding positions. This machine was actually an oversized stand-up Sea-Doo that could be equipped with two different seats.

The “Kart” configuration, as the name suggests, offered a go-kart-like driving position and experience, while the “Moto” setup allowed the operator to ride on a motorcycle-like saddle.

Even if the Sea-Doo 3D was a revolutionary idea because of its oversized hull, it never became popular.

Key specifications of the 2004 Sea-Doo 3D:

  • Length: 8.92’
  • Width: 44”
  • Dry Weight: 585 pounds
  • Engine: 782cc, 2-stroke, 2-cylinder
  • Performance: 110 HP

22. 2007 Yamaha GP1300R

The last 2-stroke WaveRunner was the Yamaha GP1300R, marketed from 2003 through 2007. It’s safe to say that this machine was one of the most popular and successful 2-stroke jet skis ever built!

Key specifications of the 2007 Yamaha GP1300R:

  • Length: 115.4”
  • Width: 45.3”
  • Dry Weight: 655 pounds
  • Engine: 1297cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder
  • Performance: 170 HP

23. 2011 Kawasaki Ultra 300X

The 2011 Kawasaki Ultra 300X was the first jet ski that reached the amazing 300 HP.

Besides its outstanding power source, the ski featured a new larger (160mm) jet pump, a redesigned intake grate, a fly-by-wire throttle, and an electric trim system.

Key specifications of the 2011 Kawasaki Ultra 300X:

  • Length: 11.06’
  • Width: 47”
  • Dry Weight: 1041 pounds
  • Engine: 1493, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder
  • Performance: 300 HP

24. 2014 Sea-Doo Spark

Let’s face it, modern jet skis have become pretty large and overweight.

To bring back the thrill of vintage 2-stroke skis, Sea-Doo released the 2014 Sea-Doo Spark, creating the new Rec-Lite PWC segment.

This tiny and affordable ski has instantly become popular and is still one of the best-selling PWC models each year.

Key specifications of the 2014 Sea-Doo Spark: (2UP/3UP)

  • Length: 9.17’/10’
  • Width: 46”
  • Dry Weight: 405/425 pounds
  • Engine: 899cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder
  • Performance: 60/90 HP

25. 2017 Kawasaki SX-R 1500

It’s hard to believe, but Kawasaki didn’t manufacture stand-up jet skis from 2012 through 2017.

After a break of 5 years, the Japanese manufacturer introduced the all-new 2017 Kawasaki SX-R 1500, the first 4-stroke stand-up jet ski in the industry.

Key specifications of the 2017 Kawasaki SX-R 1500:

  • Length: 104.5”
  • Width: 30.1”
  • Curb Weight: 551.3 pounds
  • Engine: 1498cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder
  • Performance: 160 HP

26. 2017 Yamaha GP1800

The iconic GP WaveRunner line was reborn in the 2017 Yamaha GP1800. Its 1812cc, supercharged 250 HP engine being combined with the lightweight NanoXcel2 hull was a really good pairing.

This flagship WaveRunner is among the best-selling performance jet skis year-after-year!

Key specifications of the 2017 Yamaha GP1800:

  • Length: 131.9”
  • Width: 48”
  • Dry Weight: 769 pounds
  • Engine: 1812cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder. supercharged
  • Performance: 250 HP

27. 2018 Krash Footrocket

In 2018 Krash Industries entered the PWC market to compete with the “Big Three.” The Australian manufacturer offers a complete fleet of turn-key freestyle and freeride jet skis.

Among the most popular models in their lineup are the Krash Footrocket and the more powerful, race-ready Footrocket Pro.

Key specifications of the 2018 Krash Footrocket:

  • Length: 82”
  • Width: 26”
  • Dry Weight: 308 pounds
  • Engine: 997cc, 2-stroke, 2-cylinder
  • Performance: 130 HP

28. 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro

To take advantage of the growing jet ski fishing industry, in 2019 Sea-Doo introduced the world’s first dedicated fishing PWC. The 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro was built on the stable ST3 platform and was equipped with a wide range of fishing accessories.

By 2021 Sea-Doo expanded the Fish Pro line by revealing two new models, the Scout, and the Sport.

Key specifications of the 2019 Sea-Doo Fish Pro:

  • Length: 147”
  • Width: 49.2”
  • Dry Weight: 798 pounds
  • Engine: 1494cc, 4-stroke, 3-cylinder
  • Performance: 155 HP

29. 2021 Yamaha 4-Stroke SuperJet

To make its legendary stand-up WaveRunner more attractive, Yamaha re-introduced the all-new 4-stroke SuperJet in 2021.

This ski got a completely new hull and the proven TR-1 Yamaha Marine Engine.

Key specifications of the 2021 Yamaha 4-stroke SuperJet:

  • Length: 95.7”
  • Width: 30”
  • Dry Weight: 375 pounds
  • Engine: 1049cc, 4-stroke, 3-cylinder
  • Performance: 100 HP

30. 2022 Kawasaki Ultra 310LX

By 2022, Kawasaki completely redesigned its entire Ultra 310 series.

The top-of-the-line 2022 Kawasaki Ultra 310LX had returned with countless new features, including a brand-new platform, brake and reverse system, 7-inch digital TFT color display, and a larger rear platform with a retractable reboarding step.

DISCOVER 2021 PWC MODELS Kawasaki, Sea-Doo, Yamaha, Krash…

DISCOVER MODELS
Discover models
Discover models