Evolution of the Jet Ski

January 1, 2023 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Any water sports enthusiast will tell you how jet skiing will give you just the right amount of adrenaline. Besides, it’s always an excellent way to watch the sunset and discover hidden bays and beautiful beaches.

Are you wondering how has the jet ski advanced? If you answer yes, then you are in the right place. Keep reading to learn about the early beginnings and everything in between as far as jet skis go.

In the Beginning

The first personal watercraft dates back to the early 1950s. In an attempt to expand from the road to the water, motorcycle companies made water scooters. Originally made in Europe, the water scooters didn’t gain as much traction as the manufacturers expected.

Then came Clayton Jacobsen in the 1960s. Clayton, an Australian, made his first prototype in 1965. He then made a second prototype a year later, after which Bombardier Corporation reached out to him. In partnership with Bombardier, Clayton developed the original Sea-Doo. Unfortunately, Sea-Doo didn’t stand the test of time. It was eventually scrapped in 1970.

But Clayton didn’t give up. On the contrary, he continued refining his stand-up model. Once his licensing agreement with Bombardier expired, he signed a deal with Kawasaki to develop a stand-up watercraft.

Finally, the Jet Ski

Kawasaki released the first commercially popular Jet Ski model in 1973. It was known as the Kawasaki JS400 Jet Ski, which sold over 200,000 pieces. At this time, jet skis gained popularity in coastal towns and holiday destinations.

Popular Brands

Sea-Doo was a brand manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products. It was designed by Clayton Jacobson and was powered by a 320cc engine with a top speed of 25 mph. In 1988, Sea-Doo broke off from BPR and made a return. It would later gain popularity in the 90s, primarily due to its pricing point.

Then Kawasaki came into the picture. Today, Kawasaki is one of the most expensive brands — their jet skis are known for speed and style.

Yamaha came in with the WaveRunner 500 in 1986. Honda also introduced the AquTrax, which also garnered considerable attention.

Types of Jet Skis

The jet ski market has evolved tremendously. That has necessitated the manufacture of different jet skis to cater to different needs. Here are some of the popular types:

Recreation Jet Skis

Recreational jet skis are by far the most popular. They are known for their agility on the water, generous storage space, and impressive speed (up to 60 mph).

Luxury Jet Skis

These are ideal for people looking for extra comfort and horsepower. They can travel at speeds of up to 66 mph.

Rec-Lite Jet Skis

The rec-lite category is relatively new and only available through Sea-Doo and Yamaha. Although they are slower (with a top speed of about 50 mph), their low price point makes them appealing.

Tow Sports Jet Skis

The name gives it away — tow sports jet skis are designed for families who want to pull a water skier or wakeboarder behind. Unfortunately, there are limited options.

The Future of Jet Skis

The last six decades have been a defining period in jet ski history. The future is even more promising. You can expect lighter weights and higher speeds. Time will tell! Today, you can enjoy various types of jet skis with a rental at Cool Breeze. We offer different rental options to meet your unique needs and budget. Give us a call today to find out more.


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