In the thirty years since Kawasaki revolutionised water sports with the introduction of the JET SKI watercraft, the personal watercraft industry has become global in scope.
It all began in 1973, with the introduction of the WSAA and WSAB, the world's first JET SKI watercraft. They were an instant success, leading to explosive popularity for this exciting new way to enjoy the water.
The personal watercraft has since evolved into a sophisticated, high-performing machine featuring the latest in engine and hull technology. JET SKI watercraft are now widely used for sport, recreation and water safety. With the growing usage of personal watercraft have also come increasing environmental concerns. As exemplified by the 4-stroke STX-12F, Kawasaki is committed to developing quiet, low-emission engines and advanced hull designs for personal watercraft.
It is a commitment we intend to pursue far into the future.
AND KAWASAKI CREATED THE JET SKI WATERCRAFT ... AND IT WAS GOOD.
Launching a revolution, the world''s first JET SKI watercraft took to the water. These limited production models were powered by 2-stroke twin-cylinder engines pumping out plenty of thrust for waterborne fun. Featuring greater manoeuvrability than any boat and extremely shallow drafts, they set the standards for the personal watercraft of the future.
The unique JET SKI watercraft feature of the fully enclosed impeller pump dramatically improved water safety over conventional outboard motors. Self-righting and self-circling features ensured that the craft would idle in circles at slow speeds if the rider fell off. The WSAA and WSAB could be distinguished by their hulls: the WSAA featured a flat hull, while the WSAB featured a V-type hull.
Kawasaki''s first mass production JET SKI watercraft, the JS400 (JS400-A), rolled down the slipways and into the hearts of the world''s fun seekers. Featuring an SMC hull, the JS400 was a popular machine among racers and thrill seekers alike.
Market demands for more power lead to development of the JS440, an upgraded version of the popular JS400. The JS440 offered more performance and became one of Kawasaki''s longest selling models, enjoyed equally by fun-lovers and racers.
The JS550 was the first JET SKI watercraft to feature the newly designed, high-capacity mixed-flow pump. Driven by a water-cooled, 531 cm3 2-stroke Twin, the JS550 pumped out plenty of thrust to satisfy the most power-hungry thrill seekers. Advanced technology included automatic rpm control to prevent over-revving when the pump was out of the water.
The lightweight JS300 proved especially popular with new riders seeking an easy-to-operate JET SKI watercraft. Powered by a single-cylinder 294 cm3 engine with Superlube automatic fuel and oil mixing, the JS300 was as easy to operate as it was to maintain.
DOUBLE THE FUN
A hybrid two-passenger model with stand-up and sit-down capabilities, the X-2 finally allowed riders to share the fun with friends and family. Extra thrust came from a water-cooled, 635 cm3 2-stroke Twin pumping out 52 HP at 6,000 rpm via an axial flow pump. A water-jacketed exhaust system helped ensure low noise levels. The X-2 was the first JET SKI watercraft to feature an adjustable handlebar and adjustable trim. Its great agility and motocross-like handling made it extremely popular. In order to be able to race these machines, a new race category was created; this category is known today as the "sport class".
Sales of the wet and wild 300SX commenced. This stand-up JET SKI watercraft was powered by a high-revving 294 cm3 reed-valve Single with CD ignition and water-jacketed exhaust.
The ultimate solo performance" was the catch phrase used when this high-powered stand-up model hit the water. A high-capacity axial-flow pump mated to the powerful 635 cm3 2-stroke Twin delivered tremendous thrust across the rev range. The 650SX featured a new V-hull design that increased stability during boarding and during high-speed manoeuvring.
The Kawasaki JET MATE watercraft combined the engine and drive system from Kawasaki's popular 650-class JET SKI watercraft models with a 3-seat, boat-like hull. Other interesting technology included joy-stick control, a reverse system and a twin-tunnel hull design for high stability. Two hooks at the rear of the craft made it ideal for towing water skiers.
The two-seater Tandem SportTM, Kawasaki's first true sit-down JET SKI watercraft, rolled down the slipways. It featured big power from a twin-cylinder 635 cm3 engine and a step-through design. Automatic oil injection made for hassle-free fun.
Sales of the high-performing 550SX started. A mixed-flow pump, automatic rev limiter and self-circling mode made it an instant winner on the competition scene.
The updated 550SX was released into a booming market for stand-up watercraft. Piston reed valves, aluminium cylinders and an underwater exhaust outlet for reduced noise levels were some of the new performance-enhancing features.
Also re-released this year was the upgraded 650SX. Powered by a high-revving, in-line, twin-cylinder engine, the big SX satisfied the incessant craving of racers for more power. New underwater exhaust outlet reduced noise levels while allowing peak performance.
Another innovative watercraft, the SC put an end to back-seat driving. Side-by-side seating, a 3-position steering wheel and the first JET SKI watercraft reverse system made it extremely easy to manoeuvre and operate. The fibreglass-reinforced hull was equipped with multiple storage compartments and integral flotation, making it virtually unsinkable.
An all-new twin-cylinder engine displacing 744 cm3 and fed by a huge 40 mm carb mounted to 8-petal reed blocks gave the 2-seater 750SS (X-4 in Japan) a massive spread of responsive power. Rubber engine mounts improved comfort and reduced vibration stress on the rest of the boat. The tough, fibreglass-reinforced hull was fitted with storage compartments and a large-capacity fuel tank for long-range fun. The 750SS, Kawasaki's first high-performance runabout, was a popular choice among racers in the early days of the runabout class.
Racers and performance riders always want more power, and Kawasaki happily obliged with the mighty 750SX. This high-performance stand-up model featured the same all-new engine as the 750SS, as well as an automatic bilge pump, an underwater exhaust outlet, Superlube automatic oil mixing, and a lightweight, highly manoeuvrable hull.
Sales of the Super Sport Xi, the first JET SKI watercraft to feature dual carburettors, started. More power from the 40 mm carbs and a 5-blade stainless impeller gave stunning performance to this two-seater hot rod. A trim system controlling the nozzle angle allowed the watercraft thrust angle to be trimmed for one rider or two, light weight or heavy.
The Super Sport XiR hit the water. This limited edition race-ready model featured an all-new carbon-fibre reinforced hull and came standard with an after-market exhaust system.
The ST, Kawasaki's first three-seater JET SKI watercraft, was launched. LED instrumentation, reverse and a 46-litre fuel tank (the largest at the time) were just some of its user-friendly features.
GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES
The first of Kawasaki's 3-cylinder models, the 900 ZXi was powered by a newly designed 891 cm3 crankcase reed-valve engine fitted with a smooth-running 120° crankshaft. The combination of reed-valve induction and three separate carburettors delivered both highly responsive power at low rpm and screaming high-rpm performance on top. Other new features included electrically operated nozzle trim control that made it easy to adjust the nozzle angle to suit riding conditions. Advanced technology included a waterproof magnetic ignition key, electronic digital ignition, a 3-bladed stainless steel impeller and adjustable rear-view mirrors. The 900 ZXi's innovative design made it "Watercraft of the Year".
The all-new 750 ZXi reached the showrooms. Featuring a 743 cm3 engine with the same frame and much of the same state-of-the-art technology as the 900 ZXi, this exciting 2-person JET SKI watercraft was a popular lightweight alternative to the more powerful 900.
Also new for '95 was the 750 SXi, a stand-up JET SKI watercraft with a powerful twin-cylinder engine, a 3-bladed stainless steel impeller and a long-life aluminium water muffler. This upgraded version of the 750SX was the first stand-up model with dual carburettors.
The latest iteration of the popular JT750 series, the 3-seater STS featured a powerful new twin-cylinder engine with dual carburettors, a fibreglass-reinforced RTM hull and a convenient reverse function. A tachometer and rear-view mirrors were standard equipment.
Christened the 1100 ZXi, this JET SKI watercraft was powered by a bored out version of the 900 ZXi's 3-cylinder engine. Displacing 1,071 cm3 and churning out a massive 120 horsepower at 6,750 rpm, it was the most powerful personal watercraft on the market. The three carburettors were fitted with accelerator pumps for instant throttle response and instant acceleration. Latest hull technology included a unique air induction system that reduced surface friction for a smooth top speed and twin KSD (Kawasaki Splash Deflector) to control water spray. KATS (Kawasaki Automatic Trim System), a stainless steel impeller, a comprehensive set of four analogue instruments (speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and trim indicator) and a digital clock were only some of the features that made the 1100 ZXi King of the Fleet.
Updated for '96, the 750SS (X-4 in Japan) benefited from increased engine power, an improved electric trim system, a new impeller for more thrust, and improved rough water performance.
The latest version of the Super Sport Xi was baptised. Upgrades included more power and improved durability for the engine, a new quick-planing hull with KSD and larger, more race-oriented sponsons, and a larger, more comfortable seat.
Sales of the 900 STX commenced. Huge power from a 3-cylinder 891 cm3 engine, seating for three and a rugged, highly manoeuvrable hull made this JET SKI watercraft the top machine in its category.
Rock 'n roll on water! That's what riders thought the first time they opened the throttle on the amazing 1100 STX. The combination of the 1100 ZXi engine and a hand-laid fibreglass hull with an all-new "cab-forward" design and a 3-person seat made the 1100 STX the ideal runabout for family outings and coastal exploration. Large sponsons on the hull helped it reach planing speeds very quickly. LCD multifunction meters, a large-capacity 53-litre fuel tank and the only standard-fit retractable boarding step in the industry were only some of its leading features.
The Xi Sport hit the water in style with a powerful twin-cylinder engine, a fibreglass-reinforced SMC hull and a lanyard engine stop switch.
Racers' delight! The SXi Pro was released and immediately dominated racing. Massive twin-cylinder horsepower and impeccable handling from a new hand-laid fibreglass hull with a lower centre of gravity for more race-oriented performance made the SXi Pro an instant winner.
Sales of the 750 STX commenced. This three-person sports model shared its hull with the larger 900 STX and was loaded with rider-friendly features which gave it broad-spectrum appeal.
The updated 1100 STX was the first JET SKI watercraft to feature CDCV carburettors. Still used on present-day carbureted models, CDCV carburettors offered improved starting, better fuel economy and enhanced reliability. Other improvements included a larger oil tank, a large storage area added under the seat, and a tachometer added to the instruments.
Released exclusively in Japan, this commemorative edition of the 550SX featured an all-white body with "JET SKI" and "550SX" logos. Each of the 300 units was individually numbered.
By 1999, the horsepower wars were in full swing, and the "Ultra 150" model name hinted at this impressive machine's close to 150 horsepower. The all-new engine had a displacement of 1,176 cm3. Nikasil-plated cylinders increased durability and performance while reducing engine weight. Kawasaki's Throttle Responsive Ignition Control (KTRIC) continuously altered the timing of the digital ignition for each individual cylinder to suit operating conditions. Oval-shaped leading edges on the impeller blades maximised efficiency while reducing cavitation. A hand-laid fibreglass stepped hull with deep-V design gave the Ultra 150 excellent handling performance.
Released in Japan to commemorate Kawasaki's victory in the IJSBA Runabout championship, only 300 units of this limited edition racer replica were produced. Based on the 1100 STX, the 1100 STX-Limited featured Kawasaki works colouring and 2-piece sponsons.
The updated 900 STX arrived. Improved power characteristics, the "cab-forward" design of the 1100 STX with enhanced ergonomics and larger fuel and oil tanks were just some of its many new features.
GOOD CLEAN FUN!
Revolutionary was the word most journalists used to describe the D.I.'s clean-burning direct-injection 2-stroke engine. This remarkable system injected the optimum amount of fuel directly into the combustion chamber for significantly reduced exhaust emissions and excellent throttle response. Fuel usage was reduced by 30% and oil consumption by up to 50%, for increased range, longer play time and lower operating costs - all without any sacrifice to the 3-cylinder engine's impressive performance. A resonator added to the exhaust system further reduced noise levels. A new deep-V hull with triple KSD provided excellent rough-water handling - this hull was used on the championship-winning racers. Comfortable three-person seating, a roomy deck area with multiple storage compartments, and a retractable boarding step made the 1100 STX D.I. the most versatile JET SKI watercraft in the Kawasaki line-up.
Also re-released in '01 was an upgraded version of the 1100 STX D.I. Enhanced engine performance, reduced exhaust emissions and the Kawasaki Smart Steering™ system (KSSTM), a system that helps the rider turn at running speed, even when the throttle is not being applied, were featured.
Get it on! Combining the awesome power of the Ultra 150 watercraft with the rough-water capability of the 1100 STX D.I., the high-performance 1200 STX-R is a slicked-down runabout specially designed to form the basis for a race machine or for riders looking for maximum excitement on the water. The powerful 1,176 cm3 3-cylinder engine breathes via three CDCV carbs. Other race-oriented technology includes a race-developed ride plate and sponsons, and a racing style stepped seat. This engine-hull combination won both the national and world championship titles.
NINJA PERFORMANCE ON THE WATER!
Kawasaki takes the lead in the 4-stroke watercraft revolution with the launch of the impressive STX-12F, with its Ninja ZX-12R-based 4-cylinder engine. Offering an unbeatable combination of massive power, clean emissions and quiet operation, the fuel-injected, 1,199 cm3, DOHC engine instantly put the new STX-12F in a class of its own. Whether zooming 3-up across the water, towing skiers or exploring a barren coastline, the combination of this impressive power plant and the race-derived hull provide plenty of performance for waterborne fun. Superb ride quality, ample stowage area and plenty of power for towing skiers or wakeboarders make the impressive STX-12F the sensation of the year.
With the release of the high-performing 800 SX-R, Kawasaki changed forever the status quo of stand-up watercraft. Balancing ease-of-riding and high performance in a single package, this remarkable JET SKI watercraft satisfies everyone from beginners to pro racers. Its wide design makes it extremely stable, making it easy to ride for beginners, and while it can turn with minimum banking, the 800 SX-R can just as easily make sharp, banked turns.
Its high-revving, 781 cm3, 2-stroke, twin-cylinder engine fitted with dual Mikuni BN40-38 carburettors delivers crisp throttle response and impressive acceleration. High performance deck features include rubber-topped side-deck fins, for easy boarding or as handy leg rests when cranking tight turns. And the ergonomically designed handle pole has minimal forward-backward movement to reduce rider fatigue. Race or rip, the 800 SX-R is the stand-up model to beat in '03.
KAWASAKI, JET SKI AND PWC RACING
It wasn't long after the introduction of the first JET SKI watercraft that people began to look for avenues in which to race them. Kawasaki, working together with watercraft enthusiasts and aftermarket companies, helped create the United States JET SKI Boating Association (USJSBA) in 1980, establishing an organised environment for competitive racing. Two years later, the USJSBA re-charted to become the International JET SKI Boating Association (IJSBA) to accommodate the growing interest in JET SKI racing around the world.
In the beginning, only stand-up JET SKI watercraft were being raced - namely the JS440 - but when the X-2 was released a new race category, the "X-2 class" (now called the "sport class"), was created to allow these models to compete as well. Later, when the "runabout class" was created, Kawasaki's SS was again a popular choice among racers.
In 1993, the IJSBA was renamed the International Jet Sports Boating Association, opening the doors for competition aboard any brand of personal watercraft. The presence of other manufacturers made the competition scene more intense and helped the sport to grow. In 1995, Kawasaki became the first manufacturer to create a factory-supported PWC racing team.
Involved in the racing scene since the beginning, Kawasaki has won numerous championships over the years. Machines like the championship-winning 1200 STX-R and the 800 SX-R will ensure that Kawasaki continues to be a dominant force well into the future.