Black paint is the worst. Not because it isn’t menacing, but because it’s so stinking hard to keep clean. Black – especially, a really deep, reflective black – can reveal every swirl, scratch, smudge and waterspot in full infamy. And, as so many personal watercraft come in glossy black finishes, it’s becoming more and more difficult to retain that as-new showroom sheen. Waxes, polishes and quick cleaners abound in the market, but few applications have made the claims that the new Velocity Visions V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating does.
The cumulative result of a team of entrepreneurs, Velocity Visions formulated what they like to call “the new standard of cleaning, protection, and maintenance” for automotive, aeronautical, marine and powersports enthusiasts. Their detailing and restorative products have only recently been introduced to the personal watercraft industry, but have already picked up the attention of thousands, and earned distribution through the GreenHulk PWC Performance Store and RIVA Racing – especially for its hydrophobic, water-wicking ceramic coatings.
Above: We started our process by thoroughly cleaning our test subject ’17 Kawasaki JetSki SX-R 1500 with some Jet Renu PWC cleaner and a quick towel down.
Above: Velocity Visions supplies several microfiber towels to go with the three-stage application process. The blue towel goes with the Surface Prep and quickly removes any oils or contaminants on the ski’s surface.
With a handful of videos documenting how easily water beads and rolls off of treated watercraft, we thought it high time to try this miracle cure for ourselves. The Velocity Visions Powersports Ceramic Coating Kit (which includes the aforementioned V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating) is rather comprehensive, including a full battery of microfiber towels, applicators and treatments. The $79.99 kit includes:
- 4oz. of Velocity Visions Surface Prep
- 4oz. of Velocity Visions V1 Sealant
- 15ml of V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating
- One applicator pad
- Two suede application felts
- One 300 gsm microfiber towel
- Two 365 gsm microfiber towels
- One 420 gsm microfiber towel
- A detailed step-by-step instructional guide
Above: Velocity Visions’ V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating is applied to a small suede applicator that wraps around a foam pad. Only a few drops are needed per 3-foot surface area.
Above: It is of the utmost importance that once the Stealth Ceramic Coating is applied that it is removed within the prescribed 5-minute “flash” time. If left on too long to dry, the coating can harden and adhere with stubborn tenacity. And once removed, you’ll need to start all over again, so do it right the first time. Once applied and removed in the time allotted, give it 24-to-36 hours to cure.
The process of applying the V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating is not a quick job. You won’t be completing this chore in the space of an hour or two, but 24-to-36 hours. Because of the labor involved, we chose to use the smallest ski in our test fleet – our new 2017 Kawasaki JetSki SX-R 1500 – as our guinea pig. And since it was already pretty filthy, needing a wash anyways, we started there. A quick soap and scrub later, and we were ready to apply Velocity Visions’ Premium Surface Prep. Specifically designed to strip all polishes, contaminants and oils from the surface prior to the application of V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating, the Premium Surface Prep is gentle on skin (unlike heavy degreasers) but safely removes surface of oils, dirt, and dust.
With a clean surface, applying the V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating is where things get tricky. Velocity Visions provides a foam applicator that needs to be wrapped in a suede cloth. Applying a few drops of the Ceramic Coating to the suede, Velocity Visions instructs to wipe the coating from top-to-bottom across all surfaces, in an even back-and-forth motion. This is supposed to impregnate your ski’s porous gel coat and vinyl decals with the ceramic coating. We learned the imperiousness of removing the coating with the supplied microfiber towel within 5 minutes of its flashing. If left too long, the coating will harden, leaving a thick, discoloring layer that requires hours to remove, causing you to start all over again.
Above: A day later, we applied the final step; the V1 Protective Sealant. This easy-to-apply spray seals the ceramic coating and leaves a faint shine. Don’t be afraid to apply the sealant over decals, and rubber.
Above: With our process complete, we couldn’t wait to give it a try. The Velocity Visions Ceramic Coating truly beaded and wicked water quickly from the JetSki’s surface. Water wiped off quickly leaving no streaks or waterspots.
When applied and removed correctly (and repeated twice or even three times, per Velocity Vision’s request), the V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating is required to remain untouched for 24-to-36 hours to cure. Only then did we finally apply the Velocity Visions V1 Protective Detail & Seal spray. The easiest portion of the process, it’s merely sprayed on and wiped off, leaving a faint shine. Formulated to adhere and protect the vehicle’s exterior from harsh waterspots, chemicals, salt and UV rays, etc., what it doesn’t do is fill and mask scratches or swirls. Again, the Velocity Visions Powersports Ceramic Coating Kit is neither a wax nor polish, rather it is akin to applying a clear coat to your watercraft, except this clear coat is 10 times stronger than normal.
With our application complete, we tested its water beading abilities and were satisfied, but wanted to see how well it sized up against other “hydrophobic” brands. As an experiment, we taped off half of the SX-R’s nose, stripped the ceramic coating off with the V1 Surface Prep, and applied Meguiar’s Boat Cleaner Wax for gel coated fiberglass for a side-by-side comparison. The Meguiar’s wax went on easily, applied in a traditional overlapping swirl pattern, and wiped off quickly. Yet, when sprayed with the hose, the difference was clearly visible. The Velocity Visions-treated side beaded and wicked water twice as quickly as the waxed side. This was all the proof Velocity Visions’ claims needed.
Above left: To further exemplify the differences, we stripped the right side of the SX-R’s nose and applied Meguiar’s gel coat-specific Cleaner Wax, which also claims hydrophobic qualities. This shows the difference is final gloss and shine between a Velocity Visions-treated side (left) and a Meguiar’s waxed side (right). Above right: Here, both sides bead water well, but as illustrated, the Velocity Visions-treated side collects smaller beads and wicks water faster than the waxed side.
Above: To illustrate a common misconception about ceramic coatings, we attempted to wax an already-treated side of the SX-R to see if we could cover up some of the natural swirls and scratches in the ski’s surface. It’s better to properly prepare the surface with Velocity Visions’ Mach series of abrasive “cutting” polishes until you get a mirror finish before applying the V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating.
Since the V3 Stealth Ceramic Coating requires a completely virgin surface to adhere to, trying to apply it over wax won’t work. So in order to enjoy a high gloss, mirrored surface with a heavily protected-although-completely naked, hydrophobic surface, we had to do a little investigating. The Watercraft Journal spoke with GreenHulk’s Jerry Gaddis who explained,”Velocity Visions has its own line of abrasive polishes. Before you ever apply the ceramic coating process, you need to buff the surface with [Velocity Visions’] Mach 3 rubbing compound. Mach 2 is a cutting swirl remover and Mach 1 removes any halos or haze, leaving a perfectly flawless surface. Once you do that, then go and apply the coating.”
Now for the final takeaway: To fully enjoy a better-than-factory mirrored finish that can stand up to UV damage, salt and ocean residue, everything else nature can throw at it, we can see the Velocity Visions Powersports Ceramic Coating Kit simply not being enough. The entirety of the Velocity Visions line almost seems mandatory given the final result. Sure, for those who regularly maintain their watercraft, store it indoors and do the majority of their riding in fresh water, the excessively laborious process might not be for you. Yet, for those who ride offshore or in brackish, briny waters, units stored outside or rental outlets who simply cannot afford to detail their fleet after every busy weekend, investing the time, labor and money into a complete Velocity Visions polishes, coatings and sealants might be the most practical answer.