Jet Skis Are Basically Water Cars Now

Image for article titled Jet Skis Are Basically Water Cars Now

Image: Kawasaki

Jet Skis used to be the motorcycle of the water, right? They were small and relatively light and nimble, at least compared to boats, and they could rip away all day, doing high speed water maneuvers. And if you dug too hard into a turn or carried way too much speed, it’d high side your ass just like a motorcycle would. These days modern Jet Skis have as much tech as your average luxury crossover, and command incredible high prices as a result.


When I was high school aged, my folks had a little cottage on a tucked away lake in rural Michigan called Bristol. We had a Jet Ski, I don’t actually remember what kind, but it was sort of a pain in the ass to pull start, and the only “tech” it had was wrist strap that killed the power if it sent you flying. It was pretty wimpy, and topped out somewhere around 25 or 30 miles per hour. Or maybe that was knots?

Image for article titled Jet Skis Are Basically Water Cars Now

Image: Kawasaki

Fast forward a couple decades and shit has gone totally bonkers. It has recently come to my attention that Kawasaki has launched a new Jet Ski Ultra 310 for 2022 that has a 1.5-liter air-to-water-intercooled supercharged four-cylinder engine. And as you might suspect, that “310″ in the machines name stands for the horsepower it produces! For those keeping score at home, that’s more horsepower than Kawasaki’s top-of-the-line supercharged sport motorcycles make. The sound you’re hearing is your brain imploding at the idea of a 310 horsepower personal watercraft.

For my own brain, maybe the even crazier thing is that these machines have more tech than most entry-level cars do these days. If your commute is across a body of water instead of an interstate highway, first of all good for you, and secondly the black and gold Jet Ski Ultra 310LXwould be an awesome commuter ride. Technically these seat three in relative comfort, and have stuff like rear view mirrors and headlights that my old PWC could hardly dream of. But on top of that it’s got a 7-inch TFT dash, launch control, sport mode, cup holders, a waterproof compartment for your phone, a rear view camera, LED lighting, a re-boarding ladder, and the most expensive version comes with a loudspeaker audio system!

I don’t personally see the appeal of a $17,000 PWC, and really don’t get optioning one up to $20,000 as the LX model shown here costs. That said, this would be a totally awesome thing to rip around the lake for a day. It holds 20 gallons of fuel, so you could probably get a good bit of distance out of that. The market is going wild for stuff like this as people realized they want a way to get out and enjoy the world without a bunch of people. Side-by-sides, motorcycles, jet skis, and the like are getting berzerk, but I suppose if you didn’t want a boat, this does pretty much everything a boat would do. Could you pull a skier or wakeboarder behind this? You bet your ass you could.

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Image for article titled Jet Skis Are Basically Water Cars Now

Image: Kawasaki

You know what? I take it back. I could totally see riding this monster out to the middle of a remote lake, kicking up the tunes, and kicking back with my lady for a few hours in the middle of a perfect summer afternoon. That sounds like pure joy.

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