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Kawasaki Re-Introduces Stand-Up PWC with 2017 Jet Ski® SX-R™

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Mark Thome

Business Development - Moto & Powersports / Auto at Malakye

FOOTHILL RANCH, CA - October 7, 2016 - When the original Jet Ski® watercraft debuted in 1973, it truly launched a whole new way of having fun on the water. Its liquid-cooled 400cc two-stroke twin engine, pivoting handlepole system and ability to slice turns and skim over waves made it pretty close to a dirtbike on water. That fun amplified further with the introduction of the Jet Ski® 440 watercraft in 1977 and then the Jet Ski® 550 watercraft in 1982, whose larger engines and new high-capacity pump dramatically expanded the performance of the Jet Ski watercraft. No wonder Kawasaki’s 1981 and 1982 AMA Superbike champion Eddie Lawson grabbed the first production Jet Ski 550 watercraft in America and promptly left everyone bobbing in his wake.

Those early units were eclipsed again when Kawasaki debuted the Jet Ski® 650 SX watercraft for 1987. Now boasting a next-gen axial-flow pump and a 635cc engine – more than 50% larger than the original model – the 650 SX, along with the later Jet Ski® 750 SX model, bristled with water-vaporizing capabilities never before seen on a production Jet Ski watercraft. But pushing limits has defined Kawasaki ever since the 1960s, and so in 2003 the most audacious Jet Ski stand-up yet, the Jet Ski® 800 SX-R™, hit the personal watercraft (PWC) world like an asteroid. Its 781cc two-stroke engine – still a tandem twin but nearly twice the size of the engine in the original Jet Ski watercraft – developed immense horsepower and could accelerate harder than just about anything else on the water. And since it retained its single-passenger stand-up hull and pivoting handlepole, the Jet Ski 800 SX-R was sometimes equated to having a KX™800 motocross bike!

While the PWC market steadily evolved to focus on sit-down models with two- and three-passenger seating, incredible as it was, eventually the Jet Ski 800 SX-R model reached a zenith, and the last one was produced for the 2011 model year. After 38 years, the end of production for the stand-up Jet Ski watercraft was lamented by purists, who circled the wagons and continued riding existing models, hoping that the most radical solo PWC would someday return....

Fortunately, it now has with the arrival of the all-new 2017 Jet Ski® SX-R™ stand-up watercraft. Now packing a four-cylinder four-stroke engine adapted from the Ninja® ZX™-14R sportbike, this fuel-injected watercraft is light years beyond the original carbureted two-stroke models in sophistication, and its performance is even more spectacular. But one thing remains the same – the free-flying stand-up thrill of the original Jet Ski watercraft. Let the good times ride on!


Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) started full-scale production of motorcycles over a half century ago. The first Kawasaki motorcycle engine was designed based on technical know-how garnered from the development and production of aircraft engines, and Kawasaki’s entry into the motorcycle industry was driven by the company’s constant effort to develop new technologies. Numerous new Kawasaki models introduced over the years have helped shape the market, and in the process have created enduring legends based on their unique engineering, power, design and riding pleasure. In the future, Kawasaki's commitment to maintaining and furthering these strengths will surely give birth to new legends.

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, side x sides, and Jet Ski® watercraft through a network of approximately 1,100 independent retailers, with close to an additional 7,700 retailers specializing in general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 3,100 people in the United States, with approximately 260 of them located at KMC's Foothill Ranch, California headquarters.

Kawasaki’s tagline, “Let the good times roll.®”, is recognized worldwide. The Kawasaki brand is synonymous with powerful, stylish and category-leading vehicles. Information about Kawasaki’s complete line of powersports products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com.

Source: Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.

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