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WaveRunner Hull Materials Explained [NanoXcel1 & 2, SMC]

WaveRunner Hull Materials Explained [NanoXcel1 & 2, SMC]

As a rule of thumb, the hull and top deck of each Yamaha WaveRunner are made of fiberglass, but they feature different types of construction. The body materials on the latest WaveRunners can be either SMC, NanoXcel 1, NanoXcel 2, or VaRTM Fiberglass, depending on the model.

If you want to find out more about these materials, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know under one roof!

What is the Hull Material on Yamaha WaveRunners?

Back in the day each PWC’s hull and top deck were manufactured from traditional fiberglass, and WaveRunners were no exception.

All this changed in 1995 when Yamaha released its first SMC hull on the WaveRaider 700 Deluxe. In the following years, this material became more prevalent across the entire Yamaha PWC lineup.

In 2008 the Japanese manufacturer introduced an all-new proprietary material, NanaoXcel. This innovative compound was designed to be stronger yet significantly lighter than regular SMC.

NanoXcel 1 was developed further and upgraded to the more advanced NanoXcel 2 in 2015.

Another lesser-known Yamaha hull material is the Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) fiberglass, which is exclusively used on the stand-up SuperJet.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about these different materials and their pros and cons in detail!

What is SMC Hull Material?

Sheet Moulded Compound, commonly known as SMC is made of polyester, filler, and fiberglass molded into panels by using compression and heat. The marine-grade fiberglass ensures strength while the polyester resin is used to glue the materials together.

This heavy-duty construction built its reputation on outstanding durability, strength, and its great ability to absorb vibration.

Thanks to its amazing features, SCM is commonly used in many different applications, and watercraft hulls are no exception.

From 1995 onwards Yamaha used this material on more and more PWCs but its usage started to fade when NanoXcel was released in 2008.

Interestingly, the entire body of the latest Yamaha EXs is still made of SMC, just like the hull on flagship FX WaveRunners.

What is NanoXcel?

NanoXcel (a.k.a. NanoXcel 1) is Yamaha-exclusive proprietary material that is used to manufacture WaveRunner hulls and top decks. Compared to standard SMC, NanoXcel is about 25 percent lighter yet 20 percent stronger while producing a better finish as well.

In return, NanoXcel has some defined drawbacks, like a worse vibration absorbing ability. It also cracks easily over time and is harder to repair than standard fiberglass-composite construction.

What kind of material is NanoXcel? In a nutshell, it’s a more advanced SMC that is designed with a special filler.

In traditional SMC hulls, the filler is typically calcium carbonate, which was not perfect for this purpose.

Why not?

This is because molecules of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) are spherical, which means they only stick together on small surfaces.

In other words, these molecules look like a lot of balls thrown into a large holder. Where the balls touch each other symbolizes bonds between the molecules, which are also known as butt joints.

The main problem with this construction is that these balls (a.k.a. calcium carbonate molecules) are relatively large, which translates to fewer joints and more space between them.

This is where the special additives of NanoXcel come into play.

As the name suggests, this material utilizes a special substitute filler material, which is exfoliated clay made by nanotechnology.

Unlike standard calcium carbonate, this filler material consists of nanometer-sized clay platelets.

The key advantage of these nano platelets is that they connect on a larger surface with more effective lap joints.

Therefore, this technology offers a stronger structure using less material, which results in a roughly 25% weight reduction. The lower weight ensures a greater power-to-weight ratio, which translates to quicker acceleration, faster top speed, and a better overall performance.

Yamaha introduced NanoXcel in 2008 on its top-of-the-line WaveRunners including the FX SHO, FX Cruiser SHO, and the non-supercharged performance HO line. Thanks to this new material, SHO models were 55 pounds lighter than their predecessors.

In the following years, NanoXcel found its way into the lower-range model lines including the 2011- VXR, 2011- VXS, and the 2014- VX series.

After many years of production, Yamaha decided to return to SMC from NanoXcel in the production of Luxury/Touring FX hulls. Why?

Unfortunately, the NanoXcel hull material proved to be less comfortable than SMC, since it’s more rigid, and absorbs less vibration.

While it’s not an issue on a performance machine like a GP or the JetBlaster, it’s not desirable on Luxury PWCs like the FXs.

Besides, the NanoXcel FX hull was prone to cracking especially if it was used offshore.

Because of these reasons, the hull of the FX series has been manufactured with SMC since 2022, but the top deck is still made of the lightweight NanoXcel 2.

What is NanoXcel 2?

NanoXcel 2 is a second-generation version of the proven NanoXcel, designed with more advanced components including glass microbubbles for a lighter construction. Even though NanoXcel 2 is stronger than its predecessor, it’s a remarkable 15 percent lighter.

According to Yamaha, NanoXcel 2 is the lightest PWC hull available, which debuted on the 2015 performance WaveRunner including the FZR SVHO and FZS SVHO.Compared to their 2014 forerunners with NanoXcel 1 hulls, these PWCs were 35 pounds lighter.

Thanks to their lighter body, the new models were faster, more aggressive, and ensured better handling.

Drawbacks?

As one may expect, NanoXcel 2 is even stiffer than NanoXcel 1, so its vibration absorption capabilities are even worse.

The vibration caused by the chop is transferred to the rider’s arms and body through the handlebars. It causes more fatigue and a less comfortable riding experience.

What is VARTM Hull Material?

The 4-stroke Yamaha SuperJet stands out in the crowd in many ways. This machine is the only stand-up PWC in Yamaha’s fleet and it features a Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) hull and top deck.

Just like any other Yamaha PWC hull material, VARTM is also based on fiberglass on which the pressurized resin is evenly spread.

Since this process is done in a closed mould the evaporative gases can’t easily escape, which makes this technology more environmentally friendly.

Takeaways – FAQs

As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions on the topic.

Are WaveRunners Made of Fiberglass?

As a rule of thumb, WaveRunner hulls are based on fiberglass, but they enjoy unique additives and special manufacturing processes.

Based on these, we can distinguish four different types of Yamaha hull materials, including:

  • SMC (Standard Sheet Moulded Compound)
  • NanoXcel 1 (Yamaha-exclusive patented SMC)
  • NanoXcel 2 (A more advanced version of the NanoXcel)
  • VARTM Fibreglass (Used exclusively on the SuperJet)

What Material is Yamaha NanoXcel Made Of?

NanoXcel is a special sheet molded compound (SMC) that features fiberglass, polyester resin, and a special filler. In standard SMC the latter is calcium carbonate, which is replaced with a smaller “nano-size” filler material in NanoXcel.

Thanks to this invention, NanoXcel is 25 percent lighter yet much stronger than SMC.

What Are the Problems with Yamaha NanoXcel Hulls?

Even though NanoXcel is a revolutionary material, it has some drawbacks over standard SMC. Since it is much more rigid, it absorbs less vibration, which translates to a less comfortable riding experience on the chop.

Besides, NanoXcel hulls are more likely to be damaged in a collision and prone to cracking when used offshore. On top of that, they are harder and more expensive to repair.

What is the Hull Material of the Yamaha EX?

Designed as entry-level WaveRunners, the top deck and the hull of the Yamaha EX line are made of traditional SMC.

What is the Hull Material of the Yamaha VX?

The hull and the deck of the non-HO Yamaha VX series have been built of the lightweight NanoXcel 1 since 2014.

In contrast, the top deck of the performance VX HO models is made of the lighter NanoXcel 2.

What is the Hull Material of the Yamaha FX?

Keeping durability and comfort in mind, the hull of the FX series is made of SMC while the top deck is NanoXcel.

It’s good to know that FX WaveRunners manufactured before 2022 featured a NanoXcel hull, which was 40 pounds lighter but less resistant to cracks.

What is the Hull Material of the Yamaha JetBlaster?

The lively JetBlaster enjoys a lightweight NonoXcel 2 hull and top deck.

What is the Hull Material of a Yamaha GP HO and SVHO?

Since they are tuned for performance rather than comfort, the top deck and the hull of the Yamaha GP HO and GP SVHO are made of NanoXcel 2.

What is the Hull Material of the Yamaha SuperJet?

The entire body of the stand-up Yamaha SuperJet is made of VARTM fiberglass.

Yamaha Deck and Hull Material Chart

For a better comparison, we’ve listed the deck and hull materials of the latest WaveRunner lines into one chart:

SeriesHullTop Deck
EXSMCSMC
FXSMCNanoXcel2
VX (non-HO)NanoXcel1NanoXcel1
VX (HO)NanoXcel1NanoXcel2
GPNanoXcel2NanoXcel2
JetBlasterNanoXcel2NanoXcel2
SuperJetVARTMVARTM