If It Ain’t Broke: 2016 Yamaha SuperJet WaveRunner


SJ

So that old saying, “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” kept coming to mind when I sat down and started thinking about the 2016 Yamaha SuperJet WaveRunner (yes, it too is a WaveRunner). The long-running standup has risen to become one of the most successful personal watercraft ever made. Not necessarily in sheer sales, but as a ski that everyone knows and recognizes. With over 25 years on the water, the SuperJet has survived the retirement of the Kawasaki JetSki without losing its soul; no other ski has stayed basically the same this long and still performs at the top of its class.

Starting out as the ol’ square nose, 50-horsepower single carb SuperJets in the early 90’s ($4,500 USD), the current 2016 model is surprisingly not too far removed from its ancestor, sporting a 701cc dual carbureted two-stroke producing 73hp ($8,500 USD). The twin reed valve and twin 38 carburetors running 50:1 premixed oil and gas, is fitted with an electric starter and is water cooled. It’s a pretty simple, but reliable system, and has remained that way for decades. And rightfully so: even after loosing your ski in the surf, just roll it over, get the water out, dry off your spark plugs and you’re off again.

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Above: Adding to the SuperJet’s popularity in Australia has been Yamaha WaveRunners Australia have been mainstay sponsors of local Australian events, such as the annual Rip N’ Ride Freeride, where a new SuperJet has been given as the grand prize.

A revamped hull and pump setup in 2008 made a huge difference to the SuperJet’s handling. Although shorter (88.2-inches) than its then-competitor, the SX-R 800, the SuperJet was discovered to be a capable machine. It corners like its on rails. I’m amazed how fast you can corner (with a bit of practice); it keeps its nose up just enough in the surf so you don’t spear into the sand, and keeps it pointed in the right direction when racing. Obviously, it has become a central freeride/freestyle platform, and the SuperJet has found new life as a Ski Lites class darling.

In fact, the legacy of the current SuperJet is quite storied. This ski has be through everything anyone could throw at it: Raced, flipped, rolled, sunk and smashed and it still continues to fire up again ready to go again the next ride. Over the years, every multiple color schemes have rolled out. The latest edition is no exception. This beautifully turned out ski is available in a choice of either Pure White with Orange & Blue, or Pure White with Black, and is one smart looking ski.

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In recent years, SuperJet sales have experienced a new resurgence thanks to optimized sales incentives, promotions discounting monthly payments, and more importantly, a natural groundswell in interest for more standup skis. Here in Australia, the SuperJet is as popular as ever, and has been the grand prize for several local events (that is, those sponsored by Yamaha WaveRunners and other great companies). Every weekend you see someone in Australia ripping it up on the SuperJet.

Of course, everyone is different, and some people add aftermarket parts to improve performance as with any vehicle. Everything from improving steering to modifying the pump nozzle, from bigger exhaust to better electronics. None of this is necessary for the layman but as you improve your riding, you’ll find that the SuperJet is exceptionally responsive to additions made. The Yamaha drivetrain is so good that aftermarket hull manufactures build their hulls to fit Yamaha motors and parts.

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Above: The Yamaha SuperJet’s survival has hinged on its retention of simplicity. The two-cylinder, two-stroke 701cc plant hasn’t been dramatically changed in over a decade.

Fatefully, what makes the SuperJet so much fun is also what alienates so many PWC enthusiasts: riding a SuperJet takes a certain level of athleticism. Balance is key, and riding a standup is a dance between you, the ski and the water. For this reason, soft, comfortable and stable runabouts have increased in popularity (almost as quickly as people’s waistbands). In fact, being completely exhausted after a ride is a sure sign of a good day on the water.

Regardless of your riding style or experience, you will never regret owning a SuperJet. They are easily one of the best purchases you can make for the water. It’s cheap, easy to learn, forgiving, and great fun for you and your mates. Heck, it’s an easy way to quickly get back into shape without feeling like you’re “working out.” Whether you’re looking to cruise down the river or a blast through the bay, you are covered with a 2016 Yamaha SuperJet.

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Andrew Donovan

Known throughout the Australian PWC scene as "Skip" and for his astounding eye behind the lens, Andrew's "Photos By Skip" have become some of the best action shots in performance watercraft. When he's not shooting skis, he's freeriding the surf.

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