“Inside baseball” is a phrase not commonly bandied about within social circles, but is an apropos way of saying “we show you how the sausage is made” (which is also a colorful albeit esoteric turn of phrase). When it came to the reveal of the new 2017 Kawasaki SX-R JetSki, our coverage might’ve skirted that line, occasionally dipping into behind-the-scenes information that the layman couldn’t really care less about. Yet, seeing that we’re a PWC enthusiast magazine, and not some generic powersports publication, we felt it appropriate to dive a little deeper.
That being said, we also wanted to draw the curtain back a little further to reveal some of the inner workings of Kawasaki – in particular it’s mindset regarding the new ski – so we had multi-time Junior Ski and Amateur Ski National Champion AJ Luinstra skulk his way through the 2017 Kawasaki Dealer Business Meeting and bring us back a full report. Mind you, there’s not a whole heck of a lot revealed here (particularly about the new SX-R) that you haven’t already read or heard, but we do get a taste of how Kawasaki is looking to market the new standup:
Above: Kawasaki brought out several top superbike and motocross riders as several new units from the motorcycle, side-by-side and PWC divisions were rolled out for 2017.
“Well, the 2017 Kawasaki Dealer Business Meeting is officially in the books. The Dealer Meeting marked 50 years for Kawasaki in the USA. With this 50th anniversary we knew there had to be some awesome new products; Kawasaki released fifteen new products ranging from side-x-sides, motorcycles, and personal watercraft.
“One of the products that I know we have been waiting for was the all-new 2017 Kawasaki SX-R. This new standup watercraft had its official international unveiling back in October of this year at the IJSBA World Finals. One of the main things we did not know back in October was the price and the full specs for the ski. We now know after a very eventful 2017 Dealer meeting that the price will be $9,999 MSRP. We also now know that the weight is 551.3 pounds with fuel. You can also see the full specs HERE.
Above: Kawasaki displayed the SX-R with some interesting notes, including “Comfort” and “Convenience” as being major proponents of the new standup’s appeal, with easy boarding thanks to a wider, angled tray, easy-to-start electronic fuel injection, storage (!) and a drier ride thanks to the KSD splash deflectors integrated into the bow.
Above: In addition to several new 2017 SX-R units, Kawasaki also displayed what the manufacturer advertised as a unit modified for “IJSBA 2017 Ski Stock Class Racing.”
“One of the cool things that we got to see was all the reactions from the dealers and even the Kawasaki staff. There were many different Kawasaki employees that got to ride it along with some of the top motocross riders for Team Green. There were many dealers that were so happy and ready to sell this product this year. One of the top features noticed by a lot of the dealers is that it is not just for smaller people to ride. Bigger people can now ride this ski too and feel very comfortable on it.
“I got the chance to talk with many dealers and Kawasaki staff about this new standup. There were so many different reactions to the new ski. Some of the people said that it was crazy fast but it also handled very good. One of the coolest reactions was by one of the Kawasaki district managers [who] got to ride it in Indian Wells. He said the ski was so fast that he couldn’t hang on to it but that it was by far one of the best standups he had ever ridden. There was also many top Kawasaki motorcycle riders like Eli Tomac, Tom Sykes, and Johnathan Rea that got to ride it.
Above: Modifications to the Stock Class SX-R included custom stitched Jettrim mats, a blinged-out Sato Engineering billet gas cap, R&D Performance sponsons, a Rick Roy Products (RRP) handle pole and chin pad, a RRP 4-degree racing handlebar and steering system with ODI lock-on grips, and Skat Trak impeller.
AJ concluded, “Overall the 2017 Kawasaki dealer meeting was very eventful and we can’t wait for another 50 years for Kawasaki in the US.” We tried to get Luinstra a chance to ride the new machine but was thwarted at every attempt, saying that media will “get their chance in a few months.” Until such time, we’ll have to live vicariously via leaked video and sporadic social media posts. But fear not, dealers are taking pre-orders currently, including 321 Kawasaki out of El Dorado, KS – so order your 2017 Kawasaki SX-R today to get the special racers discount exclusively through 321 Kawasaki today.