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A majority of today’s consumers likely think the stand-up PWC is gone, and for good reason. The last remanning stand-ups were powered by two-strokes, engines that went the way of the dinosaur thanks to stricter emissions regulations. After that fatal blow, the fun, agile craft seemingly vanished.
Except one didn’t. Believe it or not, Yamaha still produces the once-popular SuperJet. The craft comes with a catch: it’s for closed-course racing use only, meaning you can’t register it and ride it on your local waterway. But if you’re a hardcore racer – with a legitimate competition license and access to a private body of water – you can still get your hands on one.
And despite the craft’s advancing years, it still pretty much rocks.
Meet the Legend
And it rocks for a variety of reasons. Foremost among them is the iconic SuperJet hull. At 88 inches in length, just shy of 27 inches in width, and weighing in at only 306 pounds, the SuperJet feels like a stand-up should – light and agile – with the rider still feeling like they can exert an exceptional amount of influence over the craft.
One of the key changes to the hull occurred all the way back in ’08, when Yamaha took a cue from the aftermarket and widened the forward section of the hull, slimmed the aft section, and sharpened the chines. The pump was also moved farther back, and matched with an extended ride plate. Suddenly the SuperJet vied with the Kawasaki Jet Ski for sheer slalom course mastery, as more hull was in contact with the water directly at the craft’s pivot point, where it truly counts. This allows the craft to truly respond to a lean-in turning style, rail through the corners, and launch into endless freestyle maneuvers.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the Kawasaki Jet Ski 800 SX-R
Several features complement the boat’s agility. An adjustable steering connection at the handlebars can increase the boat’s turning response. The spring-loaded handlepole takes the load off the rider’s lower back. A kick tail, a SuperJet feature since the very beginning, allows you to leverage your trailing foot against the tail of the boat to lock in the stern. Finally, Hydro-Turf traction mats provide a tenacious grip to make sure the rider stays anchored in the tray.
As to the aforementioned two-stroke, it remains a good one. Yamaha’s 701cc, dual 38mm carburetor engine was at one time the go-to powerplant in the Yamaha lineup. It’s linked via driveshaft to the 144mm jet pump, a design that produces an abundance of thrust. Grab a handful of throttle and this lightweight craft can jump out of the hole, or power its way through a turn. Keep it pegged – and retain your balance on this narrow craft – and you’ll edge towards 45 mph. Don’t dismiss the speed; on a stand-up, 45 mph feels a lot faster than on a big, ultra-stable runabout.
Most racers will also likely modify the engine; there is no shortage of aftermarket parts available.
As to the colors, the SuperJet remains black, with last year’s return to Yamaha Blue for the accent graphics. It’s true to the Yamaha heritage.
Let’s hope – for those closed-course competition types – it remains for a few more years to come.
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