As our friend Ross Champion quipped about the season, “Commerce, the true meaning of Christmas.” While the true meaning of the holiday has been buried under metric tons of tinsel and blowout sales at the mall, we’ll do our part to dilute the sanctity of the season by offering our top ten favorite items that we’ve been lucky enough to test throughout the past year’s worth of Product Reviews. And yes, there’s still plenty of time to get your orders in and have these goodies in time to have wrapped and stuffed under the tree.
1. Kool PWC Stuff Jet Ski Fishing/Cooler Rack – $390
It’s no coincidence that the top of our list is Kool PWC Stuff’s Fishing/Cooler Rack. It’s literally one of the coolest items we’ve had the pleasure of testing. Many storage/fishing racks sway heavily in quality as they do price; those on the cheap side are exactly that, usually flimsy and plastic. Then there are those that are so expensive they better be made out of space-age titanium (which they’re not). No, we found the Kool PWC Stuff rack to be pleasantly affordable, stout and accommodating.
Of course, the outstanding feature of the Jet Ski Fishing/Cooler Rack doesn’t require any cutting or drilling to your personal watercraft. Throw in that the Cooler Rack can also store a pair of really cool custom saddle tanks outside of the rack space itself, you could literally pack an additional 40 gallons of gasoline with you if you felt so inclined. Now, for you PWC fishermen, the rack touts more than a handful of rod holders and can house a cooler large enough to store plenty of life bait, or your most recent catch with no problem.
2. RIVA Racing’s Intake Manifold Upgrade Kit – $39.95
If you own a 2008-up Yamaha WaveRunner with the 1.8L 4-cylinder, be it a SHO or SVHO, this is bar none the single best performance item you can purchase. Regardless if you’re a weekend cruiser or a closed course competitor, the RIVA Intake Manifold kit – which is merely a precision-crafted billet sleeve to replace the mesh element (or “flame arrestor”) in all 1.8-liter four-stroke Yamaha engines’ intake manifolds.
The tapered collar is effectively opens up the Yamaha’s airways, allowing a greater volume of air and fuel to be ingested at a higher rate by removing the restrictive mesh element in the intake manifold and replacing it with RIVA’s Intake Manifold Upgrade Kit. It takes less than an hour to install and the gains are immediately noticeable. No changes to your ECU or engine setup are required. It’s a must have if you want to go fast with a Yamaha these days, so trust us. You want one.
3. Ride Power USA’s Android Phone Charger – $69
We first got our hands on Ride Power USA’s Android Phone Charger about this time last year. It took us a couple of months to get around to installing it, and man, were we mad we waited so long. The Ride Power USA kit is possibly the most useful tool we’ve installed on our ski…ever given how often we bring our phones with us – be it for pictures, GPS mapping or just never being able to go anywhere without our smart phones. The simple design is so straightforward that the only reason it shouldn’t take longer than the suggested hour to install it to any runabout.
4. EZ Throttle Ergonomic Throttle Trigger Extension – $19.99
The EZ Throttle Ergonomic Throttle Trigger Extension simply slips over your existing finger throttle taking it from approximately two inches to about five inches, which just about mirrors the length of your PWC hand grip. All you need is 20 minutes with minimal tools – a small socket wrench with an adapter and 1/8-inch hex driver (or Allen wrench) and a 5/64” Allen wrench – and you will have radically improved your ski’s hand grip ergonomics; allowing the rider to use four fingers instead of just one or two, using less effort to squeeze and hold the original throttle.
5. Dragon Alliance’s MDX Hydro Goggles – $49.95
If you buy these, you will wear them. In fact, you’ll find yourself wearing them more than you think that you would. Seriously. The Dragon Alliance’s MDX Hydro Goggles are that comfortable. Designed specifically for watersports (i.e. riding your personal watercraft), these beauties feature waterproof tri-layer neoprene face foam that not only is designed to survive prolonged exposure to water, but also keeps out unwanted water from entering.
The Dragon Hydros float and the 1 1/2-inch strap features a silicone bead that grips firmly to your helmet (if you’re wearing one). The frame is made from polyurethane, which keeps it lightweight and flexible. But it’s the Dragon’s lenses that shine most. The frames allow for wide, panoramic lenses opening up your range of vision and are 100-percent UV (UVA/UVB) proof and coated in a proprietary anti-fog treatment.
6. Hydro-Turf’s Hydration Roller Bag – $50
You might thinking, “A bag? Really?” Seriously, we use the Hydro-Turf’s Hydration Roller Bag all the time. Let me repeat: ALL. THE. TIME. It’s huge. It’s strong and surprisingly affordable (more on that below). Made from heavy-duty nylon, it’s tough as nails, and comes in at an impressive 29”x17”x14”. That might be more bag that you think you might need, but trust us, you’ll find a use for all that real estate.
Featuring large wheels with sealed bearings that glide smoothly, the Hydration Bag can be pulled along by its molded handle grip. Three thick nylon skids on the bottom provide added rigidity and durability not found in competitor’s bags. Lastly, heavy duty zippers seal the main area and full-width front pouch as well. If you want to score a deal, use code “CODE-TWJ” in the comment section at the end of the ordering process, you will not only get the Hydration Roller Bag for $50 (that’s a $30 savings) and also earn a 15% discount on all mats, seat covers and sheets of Hydro-Turf! Yeah, you’re welcome.
7. Cargo Wave PWC Trailer – $1599
There are certain kinds of people who will LOVE the Cargo Wave PWC Trailer, and there are those who will never see a use for it in a million years. Fatefully, the first group of people are the ones who have been waiting for a quality, durable and functional towable trailer for decades – and we’re telling you, the Cargo Wave works. Made of two specially-molded fiberglass clam shells, and bonded together in a fashion similar to your watercraft, even with a rubberized bondrail, the top deck features a flip-up hatch with steel-braided tethers, and held down with rubberized latch straps, providing a watertight seal.
A one-way vent allows air circulation without letting in water, helping to keep mold from collecting inside. Inside is 28 cubic feet of storage, with a reinforced platform with non-slip matting and railings to strap your cargo down. Each Cargo Wave comes with its own full sized Igloo cooler (tied down with a pair of crisscrossing bungee cords). Towed via a pair of heavy-duty capped and steel-braided, rubberized 3-inch diameter hoses, the trailer mounts with the tightening of two C-rings into the cables’ stout cast O-rings, and to the trailer itself with a T-handle pin (for easy removal at the end of the day). The rubberized hoses allow enough flex to allow the trailer with naturally sway through your ski’s wake.
8. Jet Renu “Purple” Wash & Wax – $9.95
A few months back, we asked Jet Renu if they had a possible wetsuit washing soap on the drawing board. Their reply was, “We already have it. Purple.” Sure enough, Jet Renu’s Purple Wash & Wax premium soap was a fantastic substitute for using harsh dish soap or expensive wetsuit cleaners. Fortified with 100-percent Brazilian Carnauba Wax, you wouldn’t think that Purple would clean neoprene as well as it penetrates deep down into the gel coat to lift away caked on dirt and grime.
Purple Wash & Wax left behind no residue and provides a protective barrier from the sun’s harmful UV rays. A bottle of Purple comes in a super concentrated formula, providing a high-foaming soap that is Ph balanced, non-toxic and biodegradable.
9. Watcon’s Battery Charger Optimate 2 – $50
Available through our friends at Watcon, the Optimate 2 “smart” battery charger-maintainer is “a cost effective solution for long term maintenance of 12v batteries.” By supplying 0.8A constant current, the Optimate 2 automatically brings the battery to full charge and then switches to a “unique battery-saving maintenance charge mode” to keep battery at 100-percent, be it ready to run or preserving the life of the battery of long periods of sitting. It’s recommended for standard (with removable caps) Sealed AGM (absorbed glass mat), and sealed gel 12V lead-acid batteries up to 50Ah. Again, it’s fully automatic, and includes safety features such as “no spark connection,” and reverse polarity protection.
10. Champion Timepieces’ Fusion – $350
Finally, the coup de grace of our Top 10 list for personal watercraft enthusiasts is this absolutely gorgeous watch from Champion Timepieces. Featured last week, the Fusion comes in a unique box with a custom engraved plaque (containing a personalized thank you note from Carl and Ross). The limited edition Fusion contains a big, bold billet aluminum 46mm case, raw carbon fiber 36mm face with brushed aluminum features, a strong and comfortable 24mm nylon and co-molded silicone rubber strap from Reactor Watches, hypoallergenic stainless steel back, 10mm screw-in crown, 2mm K Glass scratch-resistant crystal, Miyota Quartz movement, super luminescent hands and is 10 ATM water resistant.
Just so you know, “The limited edition Fusion has been created to commemorate the founding of Champion Timepieces and the forming of a partnership between the founders Ross Champion and Carl Gramberg,” according to the official release. “The Fusion is a real authentic representation of the culture that so much of our lives revolve around. We used many of the same materials and manufacturing techniques in building the Fusion that have made our world of high performance watercraft what it is today.”