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When it comes to adrenaline-pumping aquatic adventures, few boating experiences can match the sheer excitement of riding a jet ski. Jet skiing offers an exhilarating blend of speed, maneuverability, and freedom on the water, making it a favorite pastime for water enthusiasts worldwide. However, not all jet skis, or PWCs, are created equal. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a newcomer looking to embark on this thrilling journey, understanding the different jet ski types is essential for ensuring you get on the right ride.

How many different types of jet skis are there?

A Sea-Doo GTR-X drifts among hazy fog.
Sea-Doo GTR-X | Erik Sherman, MotorBiscuit

While “jet ski” is more of a ubiquitous term that fans use to describe any personal watercraft (PWC), there are many different types. Further, many manufacturers categorize their PWCs with various labels, but these types are common across the industry. 

Rec-LiteSmall, lightweight PWCs with budget-minded fun.
Luxury/RecreationRoomy, well-equipped options, often with seating for three
Tow SportsPWCs with tubing, skiers, and other pull-behind sports in mind
Sport FishingLarge, stable PWCs with fishing equipment like coolers
PerformanceHigh-revving, powerful models with no shortage of speed and thrills
Stand-upThe classic, racing or trick-ready standing operator jet ski 

What is a rec-lite jet ski?

A red and white 2024 Sea-Doo Spark Trixx jet ski shows off its LinQ rear attachments.
2024 Sea-Doo Spark Trixx | Erik Sherman, MotorBiscuit

A rec-lite jet ski is a small, affordable PWC focusing on budget-friendly good times. Specifically, lightweight models like the Sea-Doo Spark tend to start at under $7,000 or $8,000, depending on seating capacity and features. 

What are some examples of a recreation or luxury jet ski?

Depending on the manufacturer, a recreation, touring, or luxury jet ski could be one and the same. For instance, Yamaha has an FX HO in its “luxury” jet skiing segment, whereas Sea-Doo offers a GTX Limited in its “touring” category. 

Either way, both models run between $15,000 and $20,000 and mix comfort with power delivery. 

Can a jet ski tow a water skier?

Not only can a jet ski tow a water skier or tuber, but some models have a “tow sports” designation. If you’re looking to tow your friends and family out on the waves, a tow sports model like the Sea-Doo Wake Pro might be right for you. 

Can jet skis be used for fishing?

Similar to tow sports models, some manufacturers make specific PWCs for sport fishing. These models typically include large, wide, stable hulls with fishing equipment like coolers and rod holders. 

What is the fastest type of jet ski?

A bright-red Sea-Doo RPX-T sits by the shoreline.
Sea-Doo RPX-T | Erik Sherman, MotorBiscuit

The fastest types of jet skis are supercharged performance models, regardless of manufacturer. For instance, the Sea-Doo RPX-T and the Yamaha GP SVHO will rocket to nearly 70 mph in around three and a half seconds. 

Of course, these models aren’t just straight-line, glassy-water warriors; models like the 2024 RPX-T utilize a rounded chine to corner and lean into turns akin to a superbike. Furthermore, manufacturers like Kawasaki still produce stand-up models. These standing PWCs are a riot for enthusiasts who want to race, jump, or do tricks on their watercraft. 

How do I choose a jet ski?

You should choose a jet ski based on what kind of riding you want to do, how many people will ride with you, and your budget. For instance, the new Spark Trixx is budget-friendly fun with a frick mode so straightforward that a beginner could get the best out of it.

Of course, fans can always opt for a used PWC, as long as it’s in good shape with as few hours as possible!

Keep up with MotorBiscuit for the latest boat, jet ski, and RV content!


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