As the year begins to finally wind down and all of the North American race series draw to a close is when we start seeing the recaps, cumulative awards and “best of’s.” The Watercraft Journal is no different and will be announcing its “Watercraft of The Year” award (and runner up) in just over a month’s time. Last year, we weighed the results ultimately upon a total impact on the industry as a whole: the 2014 runner-up was Yamaha’s then-new SVHO-powered FZR that ran roughshod over every race series and class it entered; but it was Sea-Doo’s revolutionary Spark that came home with the honor of “Watercraft of The Year” as it nearly upturned the whole industry on its ear, singularly accounting for a double-digit percentage increase in new PWC sales and bringing more neophyte riders to the sport than any other machine.
Yet before we dish out the year’s winners (that is, in our view), we were entreated with PWCOffshore.com’s announcement if its choice for offshore watercraft of the year and their choice for runner up. For those familiar with the site and accompanying group of dyed-in-the-wool offshore/endurance racers and enthusiasts, their selections will come as very little surprise. Their process of selection though, comes after fielding endless and questions asking, “What is the best craft for riding hard in the ocean?”
As PWCOffshore.com writes, “Personal Watercraft that we believe are best suited for enthusiasts and racers who are riding aggressively, at high speeds in the ocean in straight lines (not lakes, not glass water, not closed course, not for waterskiing, not for doubling up). The ocean/offshore riding denotes riding aggressively in chop, rough water and waves at higher speeds for long distances.
“We are defining ‘offshore’ as salt water riding and racing beyond break walls piloted at high speeds where there is a minimum of two and a half foot chop and ocean waves. Our methodology was either to ride the craft and / or solicit feedback from very experienced riders & racers who have ridden all of the models and were selected to provide a review. Stability, hookup, average speed, recovery time, the ability to fly straight when the craft was out of the water combined with the least amount of nose hunt possible in the rough is the name of the game in aggressive offshore riding and the basis of our selection.”
And with these parameters established, PWCOffshore.com gave the accolade to Kawasaki’s Ultra 310R JetSki as the ultimate offshore PWC, with Yamaha’s FX SVHO coming in as the runner up. Make sure to read their full report for all of their listed pros and cons and see if you agree!