Quick Tech: Install Blacktip Elite Traction Mats In Minutes


If you’ve been following along with our wild Pineapple Yellow Spark over these past few months, we’ve done just about everything we can imagine without pulling out a set of tools, yanking the top shell off and start messing with the Spark’s performance. One major step in our Spark experience was working together with America’s Motor Sports and SCS Unlimited to give our little Rec-Lite machine a very unique look via a vinyl wrap. Unfortunately, while the wrap looked great, it made our seat and footwells look extraordinarily bland.

To help relieve that, we turned to our friends at Blacktip Jetsports, whose Elite line of traction mats and seat covers can immediately add a splash of color and personality to your personal watercraft. In fact, the variety of colors and material patterns offered through Blacktip can literally put the “personal” back in personal watercraft as you can design your own seat and traction mat combination to match your tastes – don’t just stick to stock! While today we show how incredibly easy it is to install Blacktip’s traction mats, stay tuned as we’ll recover the seat in a later installment.

Left: Because the Spark didn’t come with traction mats before, we didn’t need to remove the factory kit or scrape off any left over glue (thankfully). Center: Our 2-up Spark mat kit from Blacktip Jetsports consisted of (8) individual mat panels. Right: Prior to installation, we laid everything out loosely to see how the kit is supposed to go.

Above: We used our XPS Watercraft Cleaning & Detailing kit to give our Spark a quick once-over before installing our mat kit.

First and foremost, a traction mat kit was high on our “must have” list for the Spark from the get-go, because the Poly-tec footwells (although embossed with a pattern) can be ridiculously slick if you’re wearing booties or shoes not intended for maximum traction, or you’ve got mud, silt or moss in the wells. Aiming to fix this quick, we spent a few minutes on Blacktip’s online store creating our own color combination and pattern. Blacktip Jetsports carries 15 different colors and patterns so we spent a little extra time enjoying making our pattern our own.

Because Blacktip uses the most advanced CNC cutting machines, you’re guaranteed that the kit you’re sent is precise, perfectly cut to the right pattern, and made with the same high level of quality each and every time. Handmade mats are nice, but often don’t have the precision that a CNC-cut kit can provide. The whole package is layered on 3M adhesive-backed stock, so each portion of our kit was as simple as peel-and-stick decals, requiring a little bit of pressure to make sure each panel adhered properly.

Left: The longest panels run from the top of the footwell halfway back to the end. Center: Another four panels (an intermediate and a rearward) fill the rest of the footwell. Right: We made sure to apply pressure evenly over the mat kit to ensure that the adhesive bonded properly.

Above: Blacktip provides these full sized vinyl graphics to accompany your new Elite mat kit.

For our two-seater Spark, the Blacktip Elite mat kit consisted of eight separate panels that ran the length of the footwells as well as the short back platform. Not only are the precisely cut to fit the factory footwells, but cover up the molded-in pattern, giving it a clean appearance. Even while snapping pictures, our installation (including a pre-install wash down) required little more than 30 minutes. Here we’ll show you the quick and easy steps to install an Elite kit and personalize your PWC like we did with our Spark.

Left: The coup de grace to our installation is this embossed Blacktip logo inlay that fits into the back right panel. Right: Blacktip suggests waiting at least 12 hours before taking your ski out into the water just to make sure that the 3M adhesive has time to bond to the Poly-tec hull.

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Kevin Shaw

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.

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