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22 Lesser-Known Facts About WaveRunners [With Videos]

Home/News/22 Lesser-Known Facts About WaveRunners [With Videos]

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Just like Sea-Doo, WaveRunner is also a very popular PWC brand in the US.

Since Yamaha WaveRunners are very complex vessels, they have their own terminology.

Are you familiar with SHO, SVHO, RiDE, and NanoXcel? These acronyms can be confusing, especially if you are a beginner.

If you have a WaveRunner (or just thinking of buying one), you probably want to learn these basic terms in order to understand these vessels better.

If you want to learn more about Yamaha WaveRunners, this post is for you.

For your convenience, we at JetDrift have compiled the most frequently asked questions and answers about these amazing watercrafts under one roof.

Additionally, you can find the most important terms and acronyms in connection with WaveRunners here.

If you want to learn the basics of PWCs, you may also find our post useful with the basics of PWC terms and parts.

What is a Yamaha WaveRunner?

What does WaveRunner mean?

WaveRunner is the brand name of Yamaha’s personal watercraft. You can easily recognize WaveRunners on the water because they shoot water out their rear. Just like Yamaha, every competitor PWC manufacturer has their own name for their PWCs. These are as follows:

StartedEndedManufacturerBrand name
1968-Bombardier (BRP)Sea-Doo
1972-Kawasaki Jet Ski
1986-Yamaha WaveRunner
19922004Polaris SeaLion
19931999Arctic CatTigershark
19941997MasterCraftWet Jet
2008-Krash IndustriesKrash

Who makes the WaveRunner?

WaveRunners are made by Yamaha Motor Company. It’s a Japanese powersport manufacturer that produces outboard motors, boats, PWCs, motorcycles, golf carts, industrial robots, and many other exciting products. The headquarter of Yamaha Motor Company is located in Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan.

When was the first WaveRunner made?

The first WaveRunner was introduced in 1986. This model was the WaveRunner 500, also known as the Marine Jet 500T. It was a “sit-down” type PWC that offered rides for 2 people. This tiny 2-stroke PWC got a lot of media attention and became instantly popular on the market.

When did WaveRunners go 4-stroke?

Yamaha WaveRunners went 4-stroke in 2002. In May 2002, the company introduced the FX-140 WaveRunner, powered by a low-emission 4-stroke engine. From 2009 on, all sit-down type Yamaha WaveRunners have been manufactured with 4-stroke power sources. Surprisingly, the legendary SuperJet still features a 2-stroke, 2-cylinder engine.

Where are Yamaha WaveRunners made?

Yamaha WaveRunners are made in Newnan Georgia. The Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America (YMMC) facility employs around 1,500 people and covers an area of 280 acres. It’s not just the hull and other main parts, but the engines are also manufactured and assembled in the US!

When did Yamaha introduce RiDE?

Yamaha introduced RiDE in 2015. RiDE is the acronym for Reverse with Intuitive Deceleration Electronics, but simply put it’s the brake and reverse system on WaveRunners. You can discover and compare PWC brake systems here.

What is a Superjet?

The Superjet is the only stand-up WaveRunner in Yamaha’s fleet. It was introduced in 1990 and to the delight of many fans, it’s still available on the market. Thanks to its small hull and lightweight 2-stroke engine, the Superjet offers an amazing power-to-weight ratio.

Who is WaveRunner Papa?

Neil Kobayashi is known as “WaveRunner Papa”. This is because he was the development manager when Yamaha developed and introduced its first WaveRunner models.

How do You Use a Yamaha WaveRunner?

How do you use a Yamaha WaveRunner?

You can use a Yamaha WaveRunner in the same way as any other PWC. You can steer it with the handlebar, while accelerating with the throttle lever. If you are a beginner, don’t miss our step-by-step guide on how to ride a PWC!

How do you break-in a WaveRunner?

According to Yamaha, to break-in a WaveRunner you have to make sure first that the oil level is correct in the engine. As the next step, launch the WaveRunner and for the first 5 minutes operate at 2000 RPMs. Then, for the next 1.5 hours, you have to keep the RPMs below 5000. After this short brake-in period, you can use the WaveRunner without any further restrictions.

Do WaveRunners have keys?

No, Yamaha WaveRunners don’t have keys. Instead, they have a special security system. You can lock/unlock this with a remote-control transmitter. While you ride your WaveRunner, you have to keep this transmitter at all times in the watertight storage compartment.

But don’t forget, just like any other PWC, WaveRunners also feature shut-off switches for safety reasons. This means you have to attach a clip to this shut-off switch so that you can start the engine. You also have to secure this clip to your life jacket or wrist with the shut-off lanyard. If you fall off the WaveRunner, this clip will shut the engine down.

Why do Yamaha WaveRunners shoot water?

Yamaha WaveRunners shoot water for better visibility. The water spray does the same job as dune flags on ATVs and buggies. You can find a hole on the swim platform from which the water squirts when the engine is on. Contrary to popular belief this water doesn’t come from the cooling system, but directly from the pump. This shooting water on a WaveRunner can be annoying if you want to install a fishing rack on the swim platform. That’s why PWC anglers cancel this feature.

WaveRunner Terms and Acronyms

What Does SVHO Mean?

SVHO means Super Vortex High Output. This acronym refers to Yamaha’s supercharged and intercooled engines that are built specially for WaveRunners. These 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, 1,800cc marine engines offer an amazing 250 HP.

What Does SHO Mean?

SHO means Super High Output. Yamaha’s SHO engines produced 210 HP and were the predecessor of the new SVHO engines. The first WaveRunners with SVHO engines were released in 2014.

What is NanoXcel?

NanoXcel is the material the hulls and decks of Yamaha WaveRunners are made of. The main advantage of this material is its durability and low weight. It translates into great power-to-weight ratios. In 2014, Yamaha introduced the second-generation NanoXcel2, which was 18% lighter than the predecessor NanoXcel.

Thanks to this new material, both the hulls and decks of WaveRunners are the lightest in their class!

What is NanoXcel made of?

NanoXcel is a special nanocomposite material developed by Yamaha. It’s an alternative to the regular fiberglass composite used in the PWC industry. NanoXcel features nano clay plus glass microbubbles, which make this material lightweight but still strong.

What is YEMS?

YEMS is the Yamaha Engine Management System, which is the “brain” of the WaveRunner. It’s a computerized and integrated system that controls the fuel injection, the ignition, the OTS (off-throttle steering system), and the complete engine diagnostics.

What is Yamaha RiDE?

Yamaha RiDE stands for Reverse with Intuitive Deceleration Electronics. Simply put, this is the WaveRunner’s brake and reverse system. Moreover, RiDE does a very good job when you have to maneuver around docks or in tight spaces. You can control this system with the left handlebar, also known as the RiDE handlebar.

Purchasing a WaveRunner

How much is a brand new Yamaha WaveRunner?

New Yamaha WaveRunners cost around $7,000 – $18,000 depending on the model.

What are the most popular WaveRunners on the market?

The most popular WaveRunners are arguably the VX series. The durability and reliability of these WaveRunners are legendary, which is why you can find these PWCs in many rental shops. These recreation WaveRunners are great for families and the average rider. When it comes to performance models, the Yamaha GP1800R is one of the best choices of racers and performance-minded buyers.

Do Yamaha WaveRunners come with trailers?

No, unfortunately, Yamaha WaveRunners don’t come with trailers. This means if you want to trailer it around, you will have to purchase a trailer separately. Your other option is to store your WaveRunner in a marina or a drive-on PWC dock.

Does Yamaha still make jet boats?

Yes, besides WaveRunners and outboard motors, Yamaha still makes jet boats. In the past Sea-Doo also manufactured jet boats, but left this market in 2012.


Yamaha WaveRunners have been around since 1986. When they first came on the market, they got a lot of attention and soon became popular very.

After many years of continuous development, Yamaha introduced the first 4-stroke WaveRunner in 2002. From 2009 on, every domestic WaveRunner has been powered with a 4-stroke engine.

However, you can still find one 2-stroke WaveRunner on the market. This is because unlike the Kawasaki SX-R, the Yamaha Superjet is still powered with a 2-stroke engine.

But who knows, Yamaha could introduce a new 4-stroke Superjet any year now!

If you are considering buying a new WaveRunner, you can browse and discover the latest models here.

WaveRunners are very reliable and durable products, that why many PWC rental services choose this brand over its competitors.

And finally, don’t forget that every Yamaha WaveRunner is manufactured in the US!

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