Several months ago I reported on the demise of the standup PWC for 2012. Tightening emissions laws seemingly wrote the obituary for this once-popular craft, with both the Kawasaki Jet Ski and Yamaha Super Jet’s two-stroke engines no longer able to be sold after January 1, 2012 to the recreational public.
But are the craft really gone? One glance at Yamaha’s website and it would appear the answer is no. The Super Jet clearly remains on the 2012 model list, even dressed up in a bold new 2012 color scheme — all black with bright orange graphics. Alongside a gallery of pics is this proclamation: “The best stand-up in history is the last one standing.”
So are stand-ups gone...or aren’t they? The answer lies in the fine print, a sentence of small type that states “available for purchase with racing license only.” I alluded to that result in my earlier article — that both companies would probably still be allowed to sell models for racing use. When I asked Yamaha for an official comment, the response was “The 2011 and 2012 Yamaha SuperJets are sold for closed-course competition use only. It is available for purchase with a racing license only.”
So does that mean anyone who is currently an IJSBA or APBA race license holder can still get one and ride it? Yes...and no. Yes, “racers” can buy a standup if they prove to be a competition license holder. That’s good news for those of you who race, and don’t want to make do on aging equipment. Of course, almost anyone can sign up to be a “competition” member in the novice or amateur class; some may actually race and others may never come near an organized event. Certainly that’s a loophole wide open for exploitation.
What interests me most, however, is what a prospective buyer will legally be allowed to do with a 2012 model. In other words, can they ride it...and where?
Judging by the Environmental Protection Agency’s actual ruling (Title 40: Protection of Environment, Part 1045, Subpart G, 1045.620 for those who want to research it themselves), the Agency may indeed grant an exemption for vehicles used solely for competition. The ruling goes on to say that “neither the engine nor any vessels containing the engine may be displayed for sale in any public dealership or otherwise offered for sale to the general public.” Sales must also be “limited to professional racing teams, professional racers, or other qualified racers.”
Now here’s the real kicker: “Operation of such engines may include only racing events, trials to qualify for racing events, and practice associated with racing events...Engines will not be considered to be used solely for competition if they are ever used for any recreational or other noncompetitive purpose.”
Yes, ever. To me, that sounds pretty cut and dry. If you’re a competition license holder you can buy one, but don’t think of riding it anywhere but at an actual race, or in that race’s practice sessions...ever. But I can also see how someone might have a different interpretation of the ruling’s wording — is practicing for a race literally practicing at the race site, or practicing on your own prior to the event. I’ve tried, and still haven’t gotten a clarification on that one. To me, it’s strict — at a race or not at all — but I guarantee there will be people who argue a more vague explanation of the rule. And let’s face it, how many local law enforcement officials will even know the minutia of the ruling?
All that seems clear right now is that stand-ups will indeed continue to exist in 2012, and you can buy one with a competition license.
As to what you can do with that craft after the sale, however, that’s up for debate...