Last year, Yamaha surprised all with a one-two punch combination, by first retiring the lauded FZ series runabouts and replacing them with the lighter, better equipped and superior performing GP1800; and second by revealing it’s three-tiered EX series of Rec Lite runabouts. The EX models (EX, Sport and Deluxe) vary in coloring, accessories and other finer materials, but all ride on the same uniquely designed hull, and lightweight, narrow deck configuration. The result was a runabout not parallel to the Spark by comparison’s sake, but entirely it’s own.
In initial and on-going testing, The Watercraft Journal has noted the EX’s stability, ride comfort and aptitude at leisure riding over the more “rowdy” Spark, but when livened up with a RIVA Racing MaptunerX ECU reflash and prop, the EX can stretch a smile across your face that few plastic surgeons could successfully remove – all proving the EX’s latent ability. Yet, the new craft’s arrival left some underwhelmed: “It’s too big [heavy] to compete with a Spark,” “There’s no 2-person version,” “Yamaha should’ve built a new ‘Blaster.”
That last note resonated with a few even within the walls of Yamaha, and the guys in the Australian office decided to do something about it. National Marine Marketing & Online Communications Coordinator for Yamaha Motor Australia, Mark Harman (who presumably holds the longest job title in the company) told The Watercraft Journal, “The idea behind the concept was to create a statement piece linking our historical past with the iconic 1993 WaveBlaster, with our all-new EX series. The WaveBlaster was heralded as one of the most exciting watercraft from the 1990’s.
“Since then, Yamaha’s personal watercraft have seen incremental evolutions accommodating the demand for features, equipment, stability, versatility and storage. This subsequently meant that the watercraft have grown in size to accommodate the shift towards rider demand. For 2017, Yamaha has put the ‘personal’ back in ‘personal watercraft’ with the introduction of the EX series. This new rec-lite series of WaveRunners are fun, playful and exciting. The EX pays homage to where it all started and shares key characteristics of the WaveBlaster of the 1990’s, whilst maintaining the versatility of rider demand with capacity for three riders, tow-sports, generous on-board storage and four-stroke efficiency from the award-winning TR-1 Marine Engine.”
“To further highlight the lineage, we’ve created the EX ‘Blaster concept, a one-off concept model created by Yamaha Motor Australia based on a 2017 grey-and-red EX Deluxe wrapped in the classic purple and orange 1993 ‘Blaster livery, and is destined to be shown around across Australia at major boat shows.” The EX ‘Blaster made its public debut at the Melbourne Boat Show to rave reviews. Although mechanically identical to the EX Sport, the appearance package had many inquiring whether the machine would be made available to the public. [It won’t.] In the coming weeks and months, the EX ‘Blaster concept will be shown at the Sydney and Brisbane boat shows in August (3-7, 25-27, respectively).
While not an identical recreation of the original WaveBlaster, the EX ‘Blaster concept shows us a clear glimpse at what “could be,” particularly when given the RIVA Racing Stage 1 treatment. Frankly, we applaud the concept and acknowledgement of the brand’s own history and hope to see more concepts and ideas like these in the future.