It's that "Which ski to Buy?" time of the year again!

Which Brand of Ski will you buy?

  • Total voters

Jet Ski Club

Well this is the time of the year when most new Skis are sold. We know that as it's the time of most registration and insurance renewals too. Not surprisingly it's when heaps of Skis need servicing too ;)

So I'm often asked which Ski do I buy? However, only you can make that decision given what you're planning to do with the Ski!

Most of the people I speak to want to do some adventure riding with us but they also want to take the family out for some fun too and perhaps tow a tube or wake board.

The great news is that most of the new 3 seater Skis can do this (and a few 2 seaters). It really depends on how comfortable in chop, fast, reliable and good looking you want your Ski to be.

For adventure and social riding we have all sorts joining us. There's the Skis from 2005 with thousands of hours on them. There's the new Sea-Doo Sparks. There's literally everything in between and a few 2 stroke predecessors from an earlier than 2005 time.

Supercharged Skis are awesome for fast acceleration. But they are all limited to around 108km per hour so whether it has 300hp, 310hp or 280hp it will not be much faster in top end than a 200hp naturally aspirated model. But it will use a bit more fuel at cruising speeds. At top speeds I find the n/a Skis almost suck the juice as fast as boosted Skis.

We can easily modify Skis to go faster but you risk voiding your warranty. This is because the manufacturers tune the Skis way below their potential to avoid warranty and unreliability issues.

Here is a table of my 2 cents worth on how I rate a few of them. It's just my opinion based on what we see on the water and what others tell me about their Skis.


* Reliability - High if not modified
* Looks - Conservative
* Comfort - FX models are great, FZ is a technical ride, models below them are a compromise on price.
* Maintenance - Service schedule hours (varies some models) 10, 50, 100, 200, 300 etc. 100 hours between services should always be in less than 6 months. We never let our Skis go past 50 hrs to make sure oil retains it's viscosity.

* Known Issues

Lots of the repairs to the nano cell and nano 2 fail after a short time. This is due to repairer lack of technical knowledge. I have seen many good repairs last a long time so make sure you only ever use an experienced repairer.
Sprag Clutches on superchargers. Will last for a couple of hundred hours if you’re a conservative rider. Most likely to go if Ski is used to its potential. Will probably go in around 60 hours if you modify the ecu.
Paint delaminating off the hull - Unfortunately this happens sometimes when they are new. Your new Ski will have to be repainted and this wil take some time in the shop even though it's under warranty.
Hulls cracking. I have seen many hulls crack on the back corners and through the pump tunnels. It is always when someone does a lot of wave jumping. BUT it's interesting to note that some of the hulls do and some of them don't.
When a wave jumping rider gets a different Yamaha hull it doesn't necessarily happen again. Hence some hulls are ok and some just aren't as good.

Resale - mid range

Warranty - Usually good but Ski may spend some time in the shop


* Reliability - Usually great if cared for and not too much new technology. They advance quickly so sometimes need some time in the field to be fine tuned.
* Looks - Excellent
* Comfort - Leaders in the industry
* Maintenance - Service schedule hours (varies some models) 10, 50, 100, 150, 200 etc. This is ideal.

* Known Issues

As above, new technology can have a few bugs but they are the most advanced always.
Sensors are an issue. An easy fix under warranty but can ruin your day if they go when launching for the day.
Suspension can be expensive to fix if not under warranty
Superchargers have to be rebuilt every 100-200 hours until now with the new models where it's claimed are not going to need this.
Closed loop engine cooling and now including some exhausts: This is terrific as it prevents salt water ever running through any internals. However the heat in these Skis is always higher when I measure them.
This may contribute to slightly higher wear as heat is a well known contributor.
Most of the Skis used for racing or performance social riding are quickly opened up to run open loop anyway. I have never seen a Ski that is flushed correctly have a problem with corrosion internally.
More SeaDoos sink than any other brand by a large percentage. Most issues are due to suffering a worn carbon seal. No water is delivered to the seal when flushing so the trick is to flush with an agent like JetSki.XXX - Extreme Flush to speed up the salt extraction.

Some of the Skis I've seen on the water lately have instructions from the Dealers to only flush for 30 seconds. There is no way this will eliminate the salt without an agent. I have tested it many, many times. Perhaps a full closed cooling including the exhaust is the best way to go if they can't fix the worn carbon seal problem to allow thorough flushing.

Resale - Great. They are the highest selling brand of Ski so very popular

Warranty - Excellent


* Reliability - Usually OK if very well cared for with disproportionate maintenance.
* Looks - Great
* Comfort - Ultra models are right up there. Leaders in choppy conditions
* Maintenance - Service schedule hours (varies some models) 10, 25, 25, 25, 25 etc. This is ridiculously overkill unless you only do 25 hours every 6 months.
Failure to pay for servicing every 25 hours will void your warranty so allow for this in your costings per running hour as it quickly adds up.

* Known Issues

Supercharged Ultras can do belts. This will most likely not be covered by warranty so ride them carefully
A service does not cover the replacement of an exhaust filter. This is usually required every 40 hours or so and costs between $400 and $600 so cost for this too.
The spline on the propeller is prone to corrode and fail sometimes very quickly. This is not covered by warranty. An aftermarket Solas will prevent this at around $600
The bearings of the pump need to be watched carefully. They seem to go much quicker than the other brands and can damage the motor quickly which will probably not be covered by warranty.

Resale - Can be hard to sell. Salt Water can have a terrible effect on Kawasakis. Ours are corrosion free but we are pedantic about using corrosion inhibitors contained in all of the JetSki.XXX products.

Warranty - Much of what is covered by warranty in other brands is not covered by Kawasaki. They consider many parts "disposable" service items.

So there you go, that’s how I see them all having serviced and owned and ridden thousands of hours on every make of Ski.

But don't take my word for it, the bottom line is you must always test ride a Ski before you buy one.

Narrow it down to two choices and then ride both on the same day in choppy conditions (glass water is unrealistic and every Ski back to 1990 feels awesome).

You will then know which Ski you'll get the most fun from and that’s the one you get!