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The 2022 Yamaha WaveRunner lineup has been unveiled and we were lucky enough to be there for it on Lake of the Ozarks. Scratch that, Georgia’s Lake Alatoona only doubles for the popular Missouri vacation spot on Netflix’s Ozark, but still the setting was nearly idyllic for what the manufacturer chose to show off — one exciting new model, enhancements to a popular flagship series and some intriguing package add-ons that are sure to hook fishing enthusiasts.
On the new vehicle front, the big news is the introduction of the 2022 Yamaha JetBlaster ($9,999), a freestyle-oriented craft that offers a fun, playful ride and comes in at a competitive price tag.
Along with the SuperJet part of a new “freestyle” category in the WaveRunner lineup, the 2022 Yamaha JetBlaster doesn’t resurrect the WaveBlaster of old (sorry to a few hardcore enthusiasts who are still waiting for that day), but it does replace the sporty EXR, building upon that now-departed platform with a number of handling and ergonomic mods that highlight the craft’s playful side. Yes, there will be inevitable comparisons to the Sea-Doo SPARK TRIXX (and rightly so), so let’s just get them out of the way right upfront.
Three modifications distinguish the JetBlaster from the outgoing EXR. Number one on the list is a pair of raised, wider handlebars to give the rider more leverage over the craft, especially when standing. Number two is a pair of foot chocks at the rear of the footwells and number three…custom-tuned electric trim that can be raised higher than normal to lighten the nose of the craft and make the hull feel much looser on the water. Add those familiar features to a smaller, lightweight craft that sports a boldly colorful color scheme and, well, you’ve got a model clearly influenced by the TRIXX.
Still, Yamaha will tout the differences between the two models and, again, rightly so. We’ll save a deep dive for the full review to come but in summary the Yamaha JetBlaster is a longer, taller, three-passenger model, made of SMC fiberglass, capable of towing a skier, rider or tube and featuring the power of Yamaha’s 1.0-liter TR-1 HO engine, the most powerful in this class. It also boasts far more fuel capacity (13.2 gallons) than the TRIXX, meaning far longer range for those that want to venture out on a longer ride or just play longer between fill-ups.
No, it won’t pop a wheelie. Yamaha elected to emphasize the playful, 180-spinning, hopping out of the water aspect of the craft’s personality instead of the wheelie angle, and indeed it does literally leap from the water with a burst of throttle and easily spin out into a 180 with trim tilted skyward.
In short, it’s a blast.
Most other news is reserved for the flagship FX series. Most eye-catching are two new Connext Infotainment color touchscreen displays, a 7” reserved for the SVHO models and a 5” for the HO.
The larger screens (previously the Connext display measured in at 4.3”) promise improved touch sensitivity and, thanks to their glass surface, higher “vibrancy” and visibility in bright sunlight. In addition to the multitude of info and controls previously offered, both systems now offer GPS-ready mapping (regional map cards are sold separately through the dealer or marine supply). In addition to the obvious navigation capabilities, the addition of GPS also allows Yamaha to add geo-fencing, enabling the owner to designate a riding area that users must keep the craft within. Going outside the boundaries will cause an alarm to sound; riders must return to the designated riding area for it to stop.
The system also connects with a rider’s smartphone. Similar to automotive solutions, phone calls can be taken through the Connext system, text notifications can be viewed onscreen, and a smartphone’s voice assistant (ex. Siri) can be used to make phone calls using the voice command button and integrated microphone.
A new function to Drive Control also lets the operator select different trim settings for performance or comfort, change the acceleration curve and set top speed limits.
Factory-installed speakers are also available for the first time on the FX. The twin 4.5” waterproof speakers are neatly integrated into the design at the front of the footwells. The audio package is standard issue on the flagship Limited SVHO and a factory-installed option on all other FX models. The RAM Multi-Mount system continues to be offered to add accessories from cupholders to removable Bluetooth speakers to GPS/Fishfinder.
Other changes include a larger glovebox with designated smartphone storage, sleeker handebar/steering column design with integrated rope hooks, streamlined handlebar control boxes and the change to a single combination start/stop button, and a subtle change to sponson placement that is surprisingly noticeable, making for a drier ride and smoothing out the feeling of the craft in aggressive corners.
Also new for 2022 are a series of interesting FX accessory packages centered around a new extended platform option, the FX RecDeck ($999).
The six-square-foot, flat, multi-use RecDeck platform mounts atop the existing platform, bolting into mounts at the tail end of each footwell and using the existing boarding step attachment points. Alone, the high-density-foam-covered deck can serve as a casting platform, watersports prep area or swim hangout when coving. A three-rung telescoping ladder, identical to that found on the company’s jet boat models, is tucked below the platform; a WaveRunner’s visibility spout function is reproduced to retain visibility.
The platform surface incorporates four flip-up cleats and six diagonal tracks to accept a variety of accessories, including racks, cupholders, rodholders and other accessories the aftermarket is sure to produce.
The $599 Multi-Use Rack is width-adjustable to accept a variety of cooler sizes and features mounting holes on each side for rodholders or other accessories. The rack is a building block for the JetFish Fishing Package 1 ($1,199), which adds a branded cooler, rodholders, cupholders, and related accessories. There’s also a Lounging Package ($499) that can be used when the craft is not underway, consisting of a 25”-wide seat with flip-up backrest flanked by a pair of insulated saddle bags. The seat mounts to the Multi-Use rack which must be purchased separately. With backrest folded, it sports a rubber-matted top surface for a cooler or other gear.
A second, more affordable JetFish Package 2 ($499) skips the multi-use rack and mounts the cooler directly atop the RecDeck. Stand-alone accessories include a full-size GPS/Fishfinder.
Elsewhere, the familiar FX TowSports package ($199) consists of single-rider tube, 12-volt pump, towrope and bungee tie-down; the EX Footwell Audio accessory ($599) adds permanent brackets but removable speakers at the front of EX footwells to bring audio to the Rec-end of the market; and the SuperJet gets optional mooring cleats ($55), molded footwell and handle pole storage bags ($99 each), and handlepole-mounted Bluetooth speakers.
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