Vicious Rumors & Vile Gossip: Could a WaveBlaster Be In Yamaha’s Near Future?


What if I were to tell you that Yamaha Motor Corp. USA was planning to reveal a brand-new 4-stroke WaveBlaster in time for 2023? Most of you would be pretty excited, right? And yes, it would be a true one-seater, lightweight, torquey little wave jumper that was easy to work on – y’know, exactly how you remember the old ones (1993-1996). You’d be pretty excited, right? Good. Now here’s the bad news: they’re not… officially. But that’s not to say they won’t. Here’s how we know:

Remember back mid-last year when the blokes at Yamaha WaveRunners Australia built a handful of one-off, customized Yamaha EX’s? No? Well, you should because they were bitchin’ and we did a story on their WaveBlaster-themed EX that you should read. The ‘Blaster-themed EX wasn’t more than a few cosmetic cues on a standard Azure Blue Metallic EX Deluxe (with RiDE), but it did get the conversation going with enthusiasts and Yamaha executives. And a discourse is what was needed.

“The idea behind the concept was to create a statement piece linking our historical past with the iconic 1993 WaveBlaster, with our all-new EX series,” explained Yamaha Motor Australia’s, Mark Harman. “Yamaha’s personal watercraft have seen incremental evolutions accommodating the demand for features, equipment, stability, versatility and storage. This subsequently meant that the watercraft have grown in size to accommodate the shift towards rider demand.

“For 2017, Yamaha has put the ‘personal’ back in ‘personal watercraft’ with the introduction of the EX series. This new rec-lite series of WaveRunners are fun, playful and exciting. The EX pays homage to where it all started and shares key characteristics of the WaveBlaster of the 1990’s, whilst maintaining the versatility of rider demand with capacity for three riders, tow-sports, generous on-board storage and four-stroke efficiency from the award-winning TR-1 Marine Engine.”

Voices were adamant that the current EX was too big to be faithful to the ‘Blaster, as its 599-pound dry weight dwarfed the OG ‘Blaster’s 320-poundage. Equally, the EX was longer (10’3″ vs. 8′), wider (3’7″ vs. 2’11”) and taller (3’9″ vs. 3’) than its predecessor. So how could it possibly compare? The argument that the EX’s current output of 102-horsepower from TR-1 EX was in equal measurement to the prior ‘Blaster’s paltry 63-horsepower from the 701cc two-stroke, but that didn’t assuage enthusiasts. Only a true 1-seater would suffice.

This lead us to bridging the question to Yamaha WaveRunner’s Product Manager, Scott Watkins during The Watercraft Journal’s exclusive tour of the YMMC (Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation Of America) assembly plant. “We’ve talked about it, sure.” Watkins admitted. “But it’s gotta make sense for us to invest in building it.” Setting up the molds for a production run alone is literally a multi-million dollar endeavor, not to mention all that is required in development, testing, manufacturing and advertising.

Although unwilling to go “on record” with a hard number for minimum sales, other Yamaha employees have thrown around anywhere between 2,400-to-3,000 units annually for 3-to-5 years as a minimum investment in order to consider building any one unit. This figure is a contributing factor as to why we haven’t seen a 4-stroke SuperJet yet (although we know the prototype is near finalized and is slated for a 2020 release). Were a newly-minted ‘Blaster to materialize it wouldn’t be for 5 years or so.

Why so long? For a few reasons: Yamaha (as well as Sea-Doo for that matter) has a 7-8 year lifespan for all hull designs. The EX just appeared last year, and although beginning to reveal its laden potency (particularly when equipped with a RIVA Stage 1 kit, as we have tested before), the EX hull is not designed to have two feet of length cut from its center. Rather, it is very likely that a second-generation EX will be the guinea pig that permits for a full-sized, 3-seater and a reduced-length 1-seater. The 102-horsepower TR-1 EX will certainly remain as it is also slated for double-duty in the forthcoming 1-liter ’20 SuperJet.

And while it is all but guaranteed that any new ‘Blaster will overshadow its ancestor in nearly all imaginable dimensions and price (so don’t expect it to be identical to 1993), it will also be the only true one-seater in the marketplace – something which even Sea-Doo’s Spark has yet to offer (despite vociferous demand). Believe it or not, Yamaha wants to know if there’s the public demand that so many say that there is, so if you want Yamaha to build one, comment on this article below! Let them know.

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

15 comments

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  1. Pug Vickers 23 February, 2018 at 13:10 Reply

    I purchased an original Wave Blaster and loved it! It just needed a lot more power. Best wave jumping machine ever built by any manufacturer!
    I would definitely purchase a new One seater 4 stroke Wave Blaster when available!
    Pug Vickers

  2. Mike Rambas 23 February, 2018 at 15:17 Reply

    Yamaha reliability, one up fun. The time is now. With the smaller vehicles available now it would allow more families to participate. Also easier indoor storage for a smaller trailer.

  3. Shane 23 February, 2018 at 19:30 Reply

    Best idea I have heard in a long time! They would easily sell out considering how many aftermarket hulls are out their and all the people building the WB1.

  4. RiverRacerX 23 February, 2018 at 20:03 Reply

    The original Waveblaster is still the most FUN to ride out of everything ever produced. I have 4 of them in my garage and have raced several classes of watercraft over 11 years of racing.

  5. Joe Alahverde 23 February, 2018 at 22:50 Reply

    Scott and Kevin
    all of us are interested that are enthusiasts !
    Just look at all the sport classes in the racing classes throughout the United States and the world .

    I believe many stand up riders would buy them as well because they are so much fun !

  6. Hugh 24 February, 2018 at 11:42 Reply

    I would think the demand on the used market would be enough of an indicator to determine market interest. Clean WB1 still sell for $2500-4000 in my area. If they can make it affordable I would think they could sell as many as they could produce. Market segment is already moving towards smaller more fun skis. Time to capitalize on the trend yamaha.

  7. linkman 25 February, 2018 at 15:19 Reply

    “Yamaha (as well as Sea-Doo for that matter) has a 7-8 year lifespan for all hull designs.”

    Hmmm… how long has the round nose had the same hull?

    I’m surprised that 15000 units would be sufficient to consider a production design investment. I thought the number would be closer to 50000.

  8. William 26 February, 2018 at 10:02 Reply

    They could use the WaveBlaster 800 hull, or at least the mold for it. (And I would love to see it come out in the Original purple, red and yellow color scheme.)

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