These things are HUGE! or This thing is the SIZE OF A BOAT!
I would get this all the time when someone was seeing a jet ski in person for the first time. I got this comment so often that I’m surprised I’ve never written about it before.
Let’s go over why jet skis are so big and explain why it’s not as big as you might think.
They Were Small At One Point
To be fair, jet skis have gotten bigger through the years. They used to be much smaller back in the 90’s with 2-Strokes engines.
These smaller jet skis were for sure more playful and a blast to ride. Towards the late 90’s into the early 00’s things started to change for jet skis. Jet skis started to get big, there was even a time where they were so huge they could hold 4 Passengers.
Why Are They So Big?
The biggest reason why jet skis are so big is that people wanted them. Everyone wanted something that was stable and able to carry 3 people along with all there gear.
This wasn’t a problem at first, the people who wanted a larger ski got them, but many of the manufacturers still made the smaller ones for the customers that crave those.
This was before the great recession when everyone wanted the giant Hummer and other large SUVs, and thus people wanted the SUVs of the water.
Then the great recession hit, and it created this awkward time for jet skis. No one wanted to buy them because they have gotten so big and also more expensive.
From 2008 to 2013 the jet ski world was struggling. They had these big expensive machines no one was buying. They did not have small, simple and cheap machines that part of the market long for. It was a tough time.
Then Came The Sea-Doo Spark
In 2014, Sea-Doo took the world by surprised and introduced the Sea-Doo Spark. Sea-Doo went back to what made them successful, small and lightweight watercraft that were affordable.
For years every manufacturer was in a race to make them bigger and more expensive because that was what the market wanted. Then the recession hit and the market changed. Sea-Doo saw this and came in full force with the Spark.
To give you an idea, The Spark started at $4,999 and the year before that the cheapest model was closer to $8k, so it was a big deal. Before the Spark, Sea-Doo was not known as being the cheapest jet ski around, if anything the opposite was true.
The Spark brought back a nimble and lightweight machine that was super great on gas. Not only was it cheap to buy but cheap to run and the market ate them up.
The name of the Spark came from “re-sparking” the industry, and it did just that.
Not everyone wanted or needed a big jet ski. And because of the price point, Sea-Doo got more people in the sport and many of them eventually upgraded to the larger machines.
The Real Reason They “Look” Big
Just because the Spark came around did not mean no one bought the bigger jet skis. If anything, it showed people that the bigger jet skis had there place.
But the question still comes up for new riders, “These things are HUGE!”
And the answer is simple as to why they look so big. They’re not in the water.
Usually, a jet skis natural habitat is in the water, so you only see the top half exposed. Not only that but they look big in showrooms but compared to other boats and landmarks they look tiny.
When they’re in a showroom they’re usually on stands that get them high off the ground. You can see parts of it you don’t normally see, and it just looks odd to see a boat out of the water.
I had a running joke when someone commented on the size; I would say “they shrink when you get them wet.”
Big Vs. Little
You might be reading this because you’re new to jet skis and not sure which one to get. You may have noticed that they come in a variety of sizes and may be taken back by the big ones.
I have a guide here that goes over all the different models. I recommend you check it out along with my must have jet ski gear post.
Feel free to explore this site if you’re new to jet skis. I have a beginners section here that answers a lot of questions you might have.
6 thoughts on “Why Are Jet Skis So Big?!”
Back in the 90’s the Boats were so Nimble small looking today’s boats are large . Clumsy .like Harley’s in the water no thanks …lucky to have a 2 stroke Sea Doo XP from the mid 90’s and a 2002 XP 951 in many opinions the best looking ever built …..2 Strokes all the way …so much fun ..
I personally owned two 2000 Sea-Doo XP’s and I agree they are the best keys ever made and the best looking. Just like mini crotch rockets on the water. – head turners
The two strokes are still king I wish they still made them as light small and fun as they used to. Try a wave blaster with an 1100 engine on it and you won’t want to ride anything else.
Hi Steven, my husband and I are looking at getting a jet ski we are beginners, not in our 20’s, 30’s or 40’s and we are both heavy. I’m on the timid side whereas my husband ls more adventurous (ATV , boater, motorcycle)
Maybe give the GTX or FX series a try, both very stable yet powerful with the options to take it easy.
Hi there Lisa , I just got back from a great vacation up in the Lake Tahoe area . On the last week we rented jet skis for the 3 of us who would be riding that day . It was 80 degrees and we went out for an hour , each on our own ski . We were in Carnelian Bay on Lake Tahoe . we have been going up there year after year and just never really thought about trying out a jet ski , big mistake . All I can say is I was laughing and howling the whole time , the smile never left my face . I got on an orange Sea Doo GTI 155 that was just a year old , what a blast . Right now I am thinking of where I can store one when I “Doo” buy one . This model runs about 11,500 to 12,900 or so depending on options . Don’t wait too long life is short and we aren’t getting any younger God knows . Have fun and be safe , hope to see you out in Lake Tahoe someday soon , that is if you live near enough to it . Take care , God Bless