Clicky

The Most Stable Jet Skis For New Riders & Why It Matters

Finding the most stable jet ski for new riders is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. Whether you’re a beginner looking to explore the thrill of jet skiing or simply seeking a reliable watercraft, choosing the right model can make all the difference.

From years in the field of jet skis, selling and working them, we’ll explore the key features to consider and highlight some of the top jet skis known for their stability, perfect for those just starting in the world of jet skiing.

New Rider – Why It Matters

To really drive this point home, I’ve listed the reasons why stability matters, no matter if you’re new to the sport. In fact, it’s one of the biggest factors for new jet ski riders.

  1. Safer – I routinely find that the more predictable and reliable the ride, the safer it is, especially with multiple jet ski riders. When it comes to modern jet skis, they’re more versatile than in the past, accommodating towable tubes, wakeboarders, and achieving higher speeds. A larger, sturdier ride provides increased security, visibility, and easier access from the water or dock.
  2. More Confidence – It can be scary for new jet ski riders, but when there’s less likelihood of flipping or rolling, it builds confidence. More confidence facilitates quicker learning, adaptation to quirks, and increases enjoyment while on a their jet ski.
  3. Comfort – With rising prices, people are opting for jet skis over boats due to cost. Many seek a comfortable and easy alternative to boats. A larger sit-down jet ski offers a bigger seat and better handling in choppy waters. Jet skis are becoming increasingly more comfortable, with long-distance models designed for exploration.
  4. Can Do More – You can do various activities like pull sports, drag racing, cruising, and trips with a more steady machine. You’ll have less fatigue and more courage.
  5. Can Go More Places – A larger jet ski enables exploration of more places and engagement in diverse activities. For long-distance trips, ample storage space for luggage and fuel is crucial. In challenging ocean conditions, larger jet skis outperform smaller ones.
  6. Carry More People – You can carry more people on a longer and more balanced modern jet ski with confidence. While a good bit have a standard seating capacity for three people, there are also options for two or single-seater configurations. However, not all three-person jet skis are equal. Despite claiming to seat three individuals, some may be more suitable for two adults and a small child due to size constraints. Thus, it’s crucial to carefully consider seating capacity when buying, as not all three-seaters comfortably accommodate three adults.
My Sea-Doo Spark in no wake zone just enjoying life

The Most Stable PWCs From Each Brand

Talking about carrying more people, the most stable and big jet skis from each manufacturer are as follows:

The reason why Sea-Doo has many models listed is that they all share the same bigger ST3 hull. Manufacturers tend to have 3 or 4 different jet ski hulls, but may sell 10 to 20 different models. When it comes to rough water, the Kawasaki ULTRA hull is the best option due to its weight and size. You’re not going to find much else with that much balance and weight when in rough water from any other jet ski. But there are also more options when it comes to comfort.

Comfort = Sea-Doo ST3 Hull

In the PWC world, stability and comfort are a good mix, and there is one hull that truly stands out from the competition. The Sea-Doo ST3 hull, featured on popular models such as the GTX, RXT, Fish Pro, WAKE Pro, and Explorer Pro 170, takes the title as super comfortable. Sea-Doo goes above and beyond in prioritizing ergonomics, offering a seat meticulously molded to conform to the human form.

Additionally, the handlebars are thoughtfully adjusted to accommodate riders, ensuring a personalized and comfortable riding experience. With the added convenience of quick access storage, the Sea-Doo ST3 hull exemplifies meticulously designed modern jet skis that truly caters to the needs of riders. The level of comfort that Sea-Doo delivers allows them to come out with models made for long rides, like the Explorer Pro 170.

The Explorer Pro 170 is a large jet ski, all the jet ski manufacturers are moving in this direction because that is what the market wants.

The Market Demands Larger Sizes

The market demands larger jet skis, so the manufacturers are listening, and you’re seeing them get bigger. Not only does the market want very reliable and solid machines, but there are still people who want nimble and quick jet skis. It’s the balance that many jet ski manufacturers seek out, and why we have so many models to pick from today.

Even the smallest jet skis, like the Sea-Doo Spark, remains relatively large compared to older jet skis.

Now Vs. Then

For instance, let’s consider the Sea-Doo Spark 3up, which measures 120 inches long. In comparison, the 1996 GTX, known as one of the larger luxury Sea-Doo during its time, had a length of 122 inches. Notably, the Sea-Doo Spark’s width is only 1 inch shorter than that of the 1996 GTX. The difference is so minimal that the “small” Sea-Doo Spark available today is approximately the same size as the “large of its time” luxury Sea-Doo model from 1996. Moving up in size, the current Sea-Doo GTI body is actually slightly larger, and weightier, than the top-of-the-line Sea-Doo model of 2007, the GTX Limited.

These comparisons extend beyond Sea-Doo alone; similar trends are evident across other jet ski manufacturers too. They have steadily increased in size, weight, and a balanced ride over the years. This indicates that newer jet skis generally offer improved comfort due to their larger sizes. But if you want to improve your current jet ski’s ride balance, see the next section.

Do This To Improve ride Balance On Jet Skis

Weight capacity sticker for Sea-Doo Spark in footwell

If you already own a sit-down jet ski or are considering one that may not provide the level of comfort or balance you want, there are several things you can do to enhance its stability:

  1. Ride fewer people – The more people riding, the more tippy the jet ski becomes. Stick to the weight capacity, instead of the seating capacity rating.
  2. Avoid Standing Up – When you or the passengers stand up, it makes the jet ski more top-heavy and more likely to roll. Avoid standing up too much and stick to staying low when riding.
  3. Carry Fewer Items – Adding more items to the jet ski affects its overall balance and reliability to stay upright. To maintain optimal balance, it is best to only carry the needed items and avoid unnecessary weight. For example, don’t carry sand in your sand anchor, refill it every time you anchor.
  4. Learn To Ride In Chop – The way you approach a wave can determine if your jet ski will flip, so make sure to know how to handle riding waves. If you’re worried about having a steady ride, avoid going out on rough days and rough water conditions.
  5. Learn To Trim – Not every jet ski has trim, but the ones that have it, make navigating rough water easier. In rough waters, you want to trim down a little, as the front is more sharp than the rear, so you cut through the water.
  6. Understand How To Drive & Dock – It’s important you understand how to drive and how to dock a jet ski. You should also practice where you can, go in an empty cove and get a feel for the jet ski. You’ll quickly learn the quirks of the jet ski when you practice.
  7. Go Slow – Reduce your speed when encountering choppy or rough waters. Slower speeds allow for better balance and control, minimizing the impact of waves.
  8. Avoid 2-strokes – The era of 2-stroke jet skis is fading due to environmental concerns, leading manufacturers to halt their production. These models, typically smaller due to their engines, are being phased out. I suggest you stay away from 2-stroke jet skis if you’re wanting a reliable ride that doesn’t get you wet. Some 2-strokes were so unreliable that they required starting in the water.

Video On Why To Avoid 2-strokes

To see how unstable jet skis used to be and why to avoid 2-strokes if you care about a more dependable ride, watch the video below.

Today, you have to try to get wet on many of the bigger jet skis. The Sea-Doo Spark and Yamaha EX are still playful, but not anywhere near as unstable as the Sea-Doo HX back in the day.

Is This Common?

Two 2004 Sea-Doo GTX 4-tec uncovered at dealership

Generally, jet skis manufactured within the last 15 years boast significantly improved comfort and balance compared to older models. The Sea-Doo HX was a one-time thing in the 90s, you don’t see jet skis that unstable these days.

The industry trend towards larger models with each new iteration and design update prompts comments like “these things are the size of boats!” from many buyers. As a large guy, I can personally attest to the balance of smaller and modern machines like the Sea-Doo Spark, which I own. Despite its compact size, I can confidently stand on its side without it flipping. While it is still possible to deliberately flip it, it requires more effort than with older jet skis, unless you max the weight of the jet ski.

Larger Jet Ski Models

The larger jet skis such as the GTI and GTX provide even greater balance ride and give me greater encouragement when riding them. However, it is important to note that the stability can be lessened when adding more people and weight to it.

Jet Ski Suddenly Wants To Roll?!?!

If you’re finding your jet ski is normally rock-solid and recently has been wanting to flip or roll over more easily, then it’s often a sign you’re taking on water. Another reason why it will all of a sudden become tippy is that you have too much weight, either too much gear or too many riders.

There is also the possibility that it’s not being driven correctly, some have a racing hull that wants to go fast, and if you’re constantly going slow, the hull can dart and feel tippy. It’s important to buy models that fit your riding style and not because it’s the fastest model they sell.

Author

Steven

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 StevenInSales.com 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.

Leave a Comment