2020 Yamaha WaveRunner Good, Bad, and the Ugly

With Yamaha Waverunner releasing their 2020 line up it’s time we go over the good, the bad, and the ugly.

While there were not any huge changes in 2020, 2019 stole the show last year; there are still a few things we need to point out.

To see the full Yamaha 2020 Line Up Go here.

The Good

The best thing Yamaha has done this year is the colors.

That FX SVHO with black on black is a real show stopper. It’s crazy how good this jet ski looks!

The FX SVHO Limited has also gotten some nice upgrades this year with the Garmin Striker 4 GPS and transducer, fenders, Tube kit, and a 12-volt outlet in the watertight glovebox. Very nice!

Speaker Package

Yamaha has also made changes to the speaker package kits they offer. They’ve increased the wattage, thus making them louder and doubled the playback time too.

The speakers do feel like an afterthought, but they beat Kawasaki and Sea-Doo in portability. You can remove the Yamaha speakers and carry them to the dock or when you beach the WaveRunner.

EX Storage

All I’ve got to say is that Yamaha is listening!

The EX now has a storage accessory add-on that increases the front storage and makes it waterproof.

While the Yamaha EX does have more storage than the Sea-Doo Spark, the storage is more spread out, which makes it less useful. On a Spark you can store big items like a life jacket, which you could not do on the EX.

Now, this new bigger storage option has fixed much of this issue. Not only that but it’s gone a whole step further and made it waterproof which the Sea-Doo Spark lacks.

The Bad

VXR Name Change

I’m a little biased; my favorite Yamaha Waverunner is the VXR. Yamaha has always done it right and beats the Sea-Doo GTR on many levels.

But they’ve changed the name of it!

I know a name change is not a massive deal to some, but they changed it to a model they already have.

VXR is now the GP1800R HO.

It’s bigger brother is the GP1800R SVHO.

VXR was simple and easy to say. Now we have a longer name and a lot more confusion on which is which.

I can just imagine the calls with customers getting confused thinking they’re getting the SVHO but instead getting the HO. This is almost as bad as Sea-Doo having turn signals on their PWC gauges.

The Ugly

The Stern Storage and Cooler is not a solution to the Fish Pro.

The Stern Storage and Cooler is an attempt at the fishing market where they give you a nice size cooler with a place to put your fishing rods.

In all honesty its a joke in comparison to the Sea-Doo Fish Pro. Though it’s not a fully fair comparison.

If we remove the fishing aspect of it and consider it as a cooler, it’s not that bad. No drilling is required to install it, and it’s out of the way on the rear. The cooler is soft but still sturdy and can be used as extra storage instead. From this point of view, it’s a total win – it’s just the attempt at the fishing rod holders that give it the bad taste.

Sea-Doo releasing the Fish Pro last year took the market by surprise. I fully expect Yamaha to come back hard as they’re the most popular brand for modifying a jet ski for fishing. This cooler with a fishing rod holder is not what I was expecting to see and I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way too. I guess I was expecting more from Yamaha. Who knows, maybe 2021 Yamaha WaveRunner has something up their sleeve?

That’s About It

No big changes from Yamaha this year like last year. The FX stole the show last year, especially with the touch screen and wider body.

2020 seems to be the year of fine-tuning, especially on the EX with the new accessories.

If you want to read more about the 2020 Yamaha WaveRunner line up the Watercraft Journal has a great write up on it here.

I’m curious to hear what you think? How do you like the new colors from Yamaha this year? Am I wrong about the new Fishing accessories?



I started working at a power sports dealership in 2007, I worked in parts, service counter, and as a technician before moving to sales in 2013. I created in 2014 to answer common watercraft questions I would get from people. Now managing the site full-time, I continue to provide advice and web tools for my readers about watercraft. I've owned several watercraft, with a Sea-Doo Spark as my current main PWC.


  1. I want to get a Waverunner now and I can’t. It appears that there isn’t one left in the northeast PERIOD! But that’s another problem for another time. I do want to make a decision on which one to get when they are available again. VX CRUISER or VX CRUISER HO? Can’t spend a penny more than an HO. Not interested in top speed. But will be towing lots of tubes and cruising. Will the 1.0L be sufficient and reliable in comparison with the 1.8L? I’m sure Sea-Doo has several options as well but for some reason I keep gravitating to the Yamaha. Any advice would be great as I can’t get a dealer to talk to me long enough other than to tell me nothing in stock. HAVENT FOUND ONE YET THAT KNOWS HOW TO ANSWER AN EMAIL!,,,Ok, sorry had to vent for a moment….

    • 2020 was an odd year, jet skis sold out all over and I’ve never seen anything like especially with current events. Usually, dealers have a couple models leftover to sell next year but it seems most won’t. I say go with the regular VX Cruiser. This weekend I was out tubing and my Spark 90HP was pulling me just fine on the tube and I weigh 240 pounds. The VX has 125HP and will pull tubes just fine. You’ll also get better gas mileage on the VX Cruiser compared to the HO which is more ideal for cruising.

    • Some manufacturers are shipping 2021 models out in July but they’re just 2020 models with the 2021 VIN. Many of those are already sold due to high demand from current events. The updated looks of 2021 models won’t be known until August at the earliest if not September. The true 2021 models don’t ship until December or January for America but Australia gets them first.

      • Steven,

        Have you heard any updates from Yamaha? I put a deposit down a few weeks ago on a VX Cruiser Ho and was hoping to get a call from my dealer sometime in August. I’m hoping they can get one in. They tell me since I put down a deposit, I’m first on their list to call when a VX Cruiser Ho comes in.

        • I have no new updates on the coming models from Yamaha. I know some 2021’s were getting shipped to some dealers but they were just 2020 models with a 2021 tag. The real 2021’s we won’t know until at least August at the earliest or September.

    • Yamaha is for sure working on a Fish Pro killer. They show interesting this year by having slap on accessories for the FX models that include a fishing rod holder and cooler. It’s not anywhere near Fish Pro standards but it shows that Yamaha wants to get in this market more. Just like the Sea-Doo Spark, the Fish Pro took Yamaha by surprise but they’ll soon have something like it. I don’t think it will be next year but in 2 or 3 years for sure.

  2. Those weak-a$$ fishing rod holders on the Yamaha are really there, IMHO, for another purpose. Those are flag pole holders so my American flag can fly loud and proud while I’m tooling around the lake.

    • Too very different machines, the GTI 130 is more of a family PWC and the GP1800R HO is made for racing and going fast. If I had to pick one I would go with the GTI 130 because I’ve been on the machines that do over 70MPH. While it’s fun it gets boring over time and I find myself wanting to cruise more nowadays.


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