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In case the calendar hasn’t made it obvious, the holiday season is just around the corner. And if you’re looking for a gift for the personal watercraft enthusiast in your life – or if, as that enthusiast, you’re looking to drop a few hints – the time has come to start making that list and checking it twice.
Need a few suggestions? There’s a lot of great gifts to put a smile on someone’s face come Christmas morning, but here are 10 of our current favorites in our annual holiday gift guide.
At $429, this is certainly at the high-end of our holiday wish list, but for true performance junkies the VBox Sport just may be the ultimate data collection tool. It’s deceptively simple in appearance. The Sport measures up about the size of a pack of playing cards, and has only two buttons – power and start/stop – to control its functions. But turn it on, squeeze the throttle on your PWC for all its worth, and the VBox will take GPS readings at a speedy 20 times per second. That data can then be easily interpreted on a Windows-based computer to get such info as 0-to-30 mph acceleration times, top speed, lap times for racers, even deceleration stats if you want to check out how fast iBR or RiDE actually slows you down. Want real-time info? Just connect the Sport via Bluetooth to your iPhone. It’s everything PWC testers used to get from a cumbersome radar gun and laptop with acceleration-testing software…for far less money and with greater capabilities. www.racelogic.co.uk/usastore
If you ride in saltwater, you know the feeling of finishing the day covered in salt and with no freshwater shower in sight. The Helio Pressure Shower ($99) comes to the rescue with a lightweight, collapsible 11-liter polyester “tank” and sink-style hose and sprayer. Fill the bladder up with fresh water before you leave home and then, when the riding is done, pump up the pressure via a simple, soft foot pump. A minimal amount of pumping provides enough pressure for 5-7 minutes of rinsing. With its top-mounted handle, it’s also portable enough to rinse not only your body but also your riding gear, even your PWC. When not in use, the Helio scrunches into a tiny 5.5” tall vented carrying case, making it easy to throw in with your other gear. No batteries or power required. www.nemoequipment.com
Most modern PWC include spring-loaded boarding steps, but not all…and older models frequently lack the convenience. Without a step, you’re left muscling yourself aboard your craft in deep water, a task that’s both annoying and tiring. The padded Aqua Step ($133-$165 depending on model) works just like OEM boarding steps, mounting to the transom straddling the jet pump and folding down when needed then retracting via its spring-loaded mechanism when not. Aqua Steps are available for a wide range of craft. Expanding inserts provide a secure mount; a touch of marine sealant keeps things watertight. www.watercraftsuperstore.net
Nothing improves the look of an aging personal watercraft – or enhances the style of a brand new or custom-painted model – more than a custom seat cover. RIVA RACING covers ($127-$255) are made by longtime industry veterans Jettrim, and combine ballistic nylons, high-grade marine vinyls and Jettrim’s own Nada-Hyde nonslip traction material to create not only one of the best-looking seat covers on the market, but also one of the best performing. Think replacing your existing cover will be a hassle? Just follow the directions and keep an electric staple gun handy. Your ride will be pimped in no time. www.rivaracing.com.
Looking for a little retro style? Oakley Frogskins ($80-$120) exploded onto the PWC and surf scene in the late ‘80s, and have recently come storming back into fashion. Oakley dug up the original tooling to craft the latest batch of Frogskins. Like the originals, they feature Plutonite lenses that filter 100% of UVA, UVB, UVC, and harmful blue light up to 400 nm. They also feature Oakley’s patented High Definition Optics; you get razor sharp vision at any angle and exceptional optical clarity. A lightweight, stress-resistant frame material comes in a variety of colors. Lenses are available to handle any light conditions, from overcast skies to brilliant sunshine. www.oakley.com
No matter where you ride around the holiday season – or if you have to wait till the chilly early days of the season to even come close to getting on the water – you’re going to need some extra layers to stay warm. Wetsuits are an obvious, but a smart second layer is a tour coat, a baggy-enough-to-fit-over-a-PFD, hooded, neoprene jacket. Jettribe’s Neoprene Tour Coat ($150) is designed to add that additional layer of warmth while fending off the wind, spray, and splash that makes off-season riding so uncomfortable. It’s also a great addition for that downtime when you’re milling about the beach waiting to get back out on the water. Jettribe’s coat features pre-curved elbow joints for comfort and a 5mm neoprene barrier that’s compressed to only be as bulky as a 3.5mm equivalent. Jettribe’s choice of bold colors and logos means there’s a style to please almost everyone. www.jettribe.com
Dry bags are an obvious gift choice for the PWC enthusiast, but not all are that convenient off the craft, especially if you’re hauling anything a fair distance. OGIO’s All Elements Pack ($129) has all the style and function of a backpack paired with waterproof construction and a dry-bag-style roll-top closure to seal out moisture. A water-resistant front zippered compartment keeps frequently used items handy. Inside, a removable liner features a laptop sleeve, tablet sleeve, and two additional zippered pockets. An adjustable sternum strap takes the weight off heavy loads. Sea-Doo fan? OGIO offers a branded version of the pack through Sea-Doo dealers as well as the company’s online accessory catalog. www.ogio.com
Looking for a simple stocking stuffer for that PWC owner who likes to keep his craft looking fine? The Micro Fiber Hand Mit ($6.50) is like an oven mit covered with hundreds of soft, plump microfiber strands. Stick your hand inside, dunk it in your wash bucket, and the mit makes soaping up your craft a breeze, getting into various nooks and crannies and never threatening to scratch your paint job. Just need to dust your craft off? The mit also makes a convenient scratch-free duster. www.jetrenu.com
Face it, PWC are not the easiest thing to tie up to a dock. Florida mega-dealer Cycle Springs Powersports offers a simple solution – a $32 pop-up cleat that tucks out of sight when not in use, but rises to the occasion (literally) when you’re looking for a spot to secure a line. Cleats are made from a polished stainless steel, set within a sturdy polypropylene base. The spring-loaded mechanism allows the cleat to be pulled up 25mm high to secure your dock line. When the line is removed, it snaps back into a low-profile 15mm off the deck. The lone catch? Installation is simple, but requires a relatively heavy-duty riveting tool. Dealer installation is recommended. shop.cyclespringsonline.com
Jet Pilot is the OG when it comes to personal watercraft style. The company was the first to give riders a true “look” back in the mid-‘80s and continues to be one of the sport’s premier brands. Wear a JP t-shirt off the water and you’ll identify yourself as a true personal watercraft enthusiast. Expect to spend about $20. Styles and colors vary. www.jetpilot.com
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