Gallery: Building a Custom SX-R JetSki For 3-Year-Old (Gallery)


Nowadays, the most dangerous part of a kid’s day is trying to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome from drawing too much on the iPad or ruining their eyes from staring at the smartphone for too long. Things seem like they aren’t what they used to be but that’s not the case for every kid.

Take for example Ricky Hinch’s two young boys who are three and four-years-old. They are riding a 2017 Kawasaki SX-R 1500 stand up JetSki.

Yes, you read that right, but don’t worry, there’s no need to act like the concerned neighbor and ask does their dad know what his kids are doing or for that matter does he know how crazy he is? Well yes, he knows exactly what they are doing and he is not crazy because it is no longer an SX-R 1500 with the OEM 160 horsepower engine.

Instead, Ricky has built a custom JetSki based on the SX-R hull using a highly de-tuned and less powerful engine. Additionally, he is using an adjustable throttle stop that limits the throttle and hence the speed at which the boys can go.

The video shows the young boys riding in a closed pond not in open public waters and under adult supervision. Ricky is just a normal Father who wants to open his kid’s eyes to the world around them and give them real experiences.

“I’m a firm believer of giving your kids real life experiences,” Hinch explains. “Experiences become part of our identity,” which is why he did not hesitate when his boys asked about riding a stand-up JetSki.

Ricky’s kids have been around watercraft their entire lives and he knew that a stand-up ski was the next thing to do. Despite some people’s reactions to his build, Ricky pushed through. Some would tell him that his kids are too young or they would not remember the experience.

However, he did not let that deter his ambition. Ricky recalled all of the wonderful times he has had with his sons over the years just by getting them out and exposed to a variety of activities. He tells us that “what you do with children will mold them into who they will become.”

Having good experiences do not necessarily mean spending a lot of money though. As Hinch emphasizes, he spent less than one thousand dollars on the entire SX-R project including sourcing the used hull, engine, and other accessories.

He bought the used 2017 Kawasaki SX-R hull, which somebody was selling after removing the original powertrain and accessories. Since the OEM 1500 motors are common to use in other projects, it is not that uncommon to come across used late model SX-R hulls.

He decided to use a Yamaha 61x 701 WaveRunner engine, which are fairly common items to be found second-hand. In addition, Ricky chose to use a fuel tank from a Sea-Doo Spark, which conveniently fits perfectly in the SX-R hull. Since there are a plethora of Sparks out there, this item can be found very easily as well.

Then the only thing left was mounting the engine and matching the height of the output shaft to the driveshaft. Some ADA drive couplers, a few fasteners, and three fuel tank fittings later, and Ricky had completed the homework stage and began to adapt and assemble everything together.

Conveniently, Ricky found that by using some OEM Yamaha runabout engine mounts, they fit on the 701 engine without having to shim for height alignment. After everything was test fitted and mounted, he buttoned up everything and ran all the cables and lines.

As mentioned earlier, Ricky knew he needed a way to further de-tune the speed of the watercraft for the young kids so he used an old throttle from another Kawasaki ski which had a built-in adjustable throttle stop.

He hooked everything up and then it was off to testing. With parts from Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Sea-Doo on this ski, it is truly a hybrid watercraft and one that definitely screams saving money while meeting your goals.

This is a testament to getting out there, having family experiences, and getting your kids involved and proof that it does not take a whole lot of money to have life experiences. Ricky’s kids sure look like they are having fun riding and we imagine that Ricky is having equally as much enjoyment watching his boys ride.

No matter what you are involved in whether it’s a powersport activity, taking walks at your local scenic spot, or going on weekend destination trips, it’s important to get your kids involved too.

Getting them involved at a young age grows their minds and builds character. You can only learn so much from reading or watching a screen but even later in life the real learning comes from the hands-on stuff; the internships, the on-the-job training and much of that stuff will come naturally if you are exposed to a variety of activities growing up.

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Brice Leckrone

Brice Leckrone

Brice is a Mechanical Engineer for 33% of the day and a PWC enthusiast for 100% of the day. When he is not at work or at the farmhouse with his wife and countless animals, he likes to be on the water. Having evolved from motorcycles and race cars that go way too fast for a married man, he now likes to ride watercraft that go way too fast for a married man.

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    linkman 6 August, 2019 at 19:22 Reply

    This is so cool. Seriously. Just when I thought that the 300SX was the best ski for little kids this project comes along…

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