Kevin Shaw: Maybe This Isn’t For You

I find myself getting short with people easier these days. Maybe it’s because I’m turning 40 this year or maybe it’s because I’ve always been this way and I’m just trying to find excuses. Either way, I’m not exactly proud of how I’m handling the public relations side of The Watercraft Journal. Sure, it might take a little more time on Facebook, but man, I’ve been really snapping at some of the folks on our YouTube page. I’m not entirely sure why… No, that’s not true. I know exactly why:

“Ugh. What a boat!” Nooo, it’s not. It’s actually shorter, lower and lighter than the previous model.

“Why not just buy a boat?” Because an actual boat is three-times more expensive, you moron.

“That thing is a big, fat barge!” So is your mom. [slams head against the table]

Yes, these were all comments left on our exclusive review of the 2018 Sea-Doo RXT-X 300, a vehicle, which happened to impress not just me, but everybody at the media demo (so no, Sea-Doo did not “buy me out”). And again, just so that we’re clear, the new RXT-X is 86-pounds lighter, 3.3-inches shorter and 1.5-inches lower than the previous model (it’s a scant 1.6 inches wider – ooh, big flippin’ deal). Yet, for whatever optical illusion, people still cry that “it’s a boooat!”

Sure, it might look big, but this is ALL the storage the new ST3-hull from Sea-Doo offers. It’s actually quite a bit less than the previous model (from 42.8 to 27-gallons).

Even with these numbers spelled out in the video itself, in the video’s description and heavily detailed in our review article, most people simply don’t listen. They see what they want to see, absorb as little information as necessary to formulate an opinion and then cling to that skewed view as tightly as if they dangled over a cliff’s edge from it. The truth is that Sea-Doo built what I, and my others feel to be, the very best runabout the company has ever produced – and we’ve had to defend this position an exhaustive amount of times.

Then there are those who simply want to complain. No amount of logic, no length of discourse will matter one iota. “In the good ole days, we [didn’t] have to hold down a button to access super insane mode, we hold down the throttle,” comment wrote, ending with the hashtag #oldschoolyami. *Sigh* Yes, that’s right, the old school skis didn’t have variable acceleration curves to toggle through. They also didn’t have brakes. Or storage. Or enough seat padding to keep you from a broken coccyx [look it up –Ed.]. So yeah, watercraft have come a long way, and frankly, I’m happy about it.

I’d say the same thing for pretty much all technology. How many of you are old enough to remember when televisions were so big that they were literally furniture? I do. In fact, I live daily with the reminder that things are better today than 50 years ago. I’ve mentioned it before and anyone who follows me through social media knows I own a couple of classic Dodge muscle cars (a ’69 Dodge Charger R/T and ’70 Dodge Super Bee). Yes, they’re certainly stylish, chocked full of character and definitely eye-catching, but don’t expect them to stop, turn, idle smoothly at a stop light, or not perpetually smell either of exhaust fumes, fuel or some other mechanical fluid.

And yet, Dodge itself offers a brand-new 707-horsepower 4-door Charger that makes more horsepower, runs a faster quarter-mile time (10.7-seconds) and reaches an absurd top speed (206mph) far surpassing my own ’69 Charger – all the while, equipped with an air conditioning system that can cool the driver and passenger at two different temps, while warming the rear passengers; scroll through limitless amounts of satellite radio stations; brake on a dime; shift through 8-gears effortlessly; average 24mpg; and do so with full Nappa leather interior and something like 23 air bags. Yeah, I love my classic, but c’mon folks. That’s pretty awesome.

Listen, what sold in 1993 isn’t what manufacturers are interested in selling today. The new 551-pound, 160-horsepower Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is evidence of that. Heck, even the Spark, despite its direct hereditary lineage with the HX is lightyears ahead of it, both in engine management, hull and deck material and braking. Just a week earlier we published just the tiniest glimpse at the possibility of a return of the Yamaha WaveBlaster and many (if not most) of the replies were, “Just build the old one (ie. hull, deck, etc.) with a new engine.” This, similar to GM restamping 1969 Chevrolet Camaros, simply will never happen (although it would be really, really cool).

Why? Because of evolution. And evolution in anything doesn’t typically happen organically. Rather, evolution is a coping mechanism to adapt or cope with outside stresses. Humans adapt to their environments as much as any other animal. And so does technology. The implementation of 4-stroke engines and sound-deadening exhausts came as a result of environmentalists and special interest groups. Wider, longer and heavier hulls came from an ever-aging demographic of buyers wanting better stability and rough water handling. Brakes came from decades of litigation and threat of banning.

Listen, I get it. Nothing is how it used to be. My wife and I endlessly quote Adam Sandler movies and Sublime lyrics to each other when none of our younger friends know what we’re talking about. Would I like to see a lightweight and nimble WaveBlaster? Sure I do. Heck, I’m fairly positive it’ll happen, but I don’t expect it to be the same price as 1994 or be sub-400 pounds or a one-seater. That ain’t gonna happen. Of course, many of you won’t absorb what I’m saying here and will just complain that it’s too heavy or expensive when it does come out and we inevitably do a video on it.

…and don’t get me started on people whining about the background music.

Go Get Wet,

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – 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.

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