Yamaha WaveRunner History 1986-2012
Yamaha, the brand with the symbol of the three tuning forks entered the personal water craft scene in the mid of eighties, a year that opened a new page in the sport and introduced a new pwc platform.
Words: Vasilis Moraitis
Source: Yamaha Motor Corporation
Yamaha is the second Japanese manufactured who entered the personal water craft scene in mid of eighties following the path that Kawasaki pioneered ten years ago. Kawasaki had entered the sport with a stand up or Ski while Yamaha make its entrance to the scene with a compact Runabout. These small-hulled craft driven by a jet-propulsion system with a seat that you sit on like riding a horse and with an open stern that makes for easy mounting and dismounting on the water. These marine sport watercraft loved by people all over the world today were introduced by Yamaha in 1986 for the first time in the world. To this new type of watercraft that have no protruding parts on the bottom of the hull and are easily righted and ridden again should they happen to capsize, Yamaha applied its famous small-engine technology to make vehicles that are truly reliable, fun and functional. With its capability to run freely across great expanses of water, Yamaha named its revolutionary invention the WaveRunner, and it became a big hit product that let people experience a refreshingly exciting and fun form of sound marine recreation anyone can enjoy. Since their release, these WaveRunners have been refined and their popularity has spread to the point where they are now used in over 120 countries worldwide. Here is their history based on the crucial models that made a point to the funs all over the world.
1986 - WaveRunner 500 (Marine Jet 500T)
Yamaha released the WaveRunner 500 (Marine Jet 500T), the world’s first sit-down type open stern production pwc. This is the model that created today’s pwc market. As an agile craft that many people could enjoy with a sense of assurance, it sent shockwaves through the small watercraft industry. Rental business grow due to this particular model.
1987 - WaveJammer 500 (Marine Jet 500S)
The WaveJammer 500 (Marine Jet 500S) debuted as the world’s first sit-down type solo riding PWC. The combination of a fixed steering column and small hull made this an extremely agile model. Its concept would later be carried on by the WaveBlaster models.
1990 - WaveRunner III 650 (Marine Jet 650TL)
A pwc featuring a larger hull and high-performance engine. With truly pleasurable running performance and great stability, it started a new rage and became the predecessor of the later family models. It became a standard that is still seen on the water today. Its reverse drive was also a first. The WaveRunner III 650 (Marine Jet 650TL) was released as the world’s first 3-passenger. Aboard a Yamaha WaveRunner III, Spanish adventurer Alvaro de Marichalar travelled 1350 nautical miles from Nautic Club in Seville to Marina Fiera in Genova, Italy.
1990 - Super Jet 650
With the SuperJet 650, Yamaha made itself a presence in the stand-up model category. The great balance of this model quickly spread the SuperJet name around the world, making the stand-up models accessible to more people. It provided better stability than the popular Kawasaki JS550 therefore, a fact that made it user friendly. The Canadian freestyle rider Rick Roy performed a flat water barrel role on a SuperJet and marked the new era of Freestyle in personal water craft racing in 1993.
1992 - WaveRunner VXR650 (Marine Jet 650TX)
The WaveRunner VXR650 (Marine Jet 650TX) was released as the deluxe model of Yamaha’s tandem series. While the same size as the initial WaveRunners, the adoption of a new concave hull design gave it sharper turning with less slip.
1993 - WaveBlaster 700 (Marine Jet 700TZ)
The WaveBlaster 700 (Marine Jet 700TZ) made its debut. With a motorcycle-like ride that let riders enjoy sharply banked turns, combined with its powerful engine, this model won the hearts of sports-minded riders. At the races it dominated the sport class competition. This is a model that still has many devoted fans today and is been used widely by Freeriders. Jeff Preiur and Dustin Farthing won the World Finals in Havasu on board of this Blaster. MacClugage won the Pro Sport class on a Blaster in 1996 Skat-Trak World Finals.
1994 - WaveRaider 700 (Marine Jet 700RA)
The WaveRaider 700 (Marine Jet 700RA) was released. pwc’s entered a new era of speed racing, and runabout type models with “V” hulls became the standard.
This same year Yamaha also released the FX1 stand-up model, a unique stand up with different characteristics and hull design (than the SuperJet). This particular model was slim and narrow as the Kawasaki JS550, though it was not successful in the market.
1995 - WaveVenture 700 (Marine Jet 700VN)
The full-sized 3-seater model WaveVenture 700 (Marine Jet 700VN) debuted. Because this was a model that beginners could ride with assurance even in fairly rough waters, it became a hit at beaches with pwc rentals. It is the predecessor to today’s rental standard, the XL700. This year the WaveRaider was also graded up with an 1100cc engine for the increasingly high-speed PWC scene.
1995 - WaveBlaster II
To help more people enjoy the fun of riding a pwc aggressively, the WaveBlaster II was released with a powerful 760cc engine and a hull designed for even greater stability. Additionally, the Blaster II was equipped with a larger dimension hull. The SuperJet was also graded up with a 701cc engine.
1997 - WaveRunner GP 1200
The GP1200 was released as a runabout model with awesome performance. With the most powerful engine in the industry and a compact body designed for great agility, this model stole the hearts of riders who loved real speed riding. Bill Pointer was the new Pro Runabout 1200 World Champion on a Yamaha GP1200. Chris MacClugage, Dustin Motzouris and Bill Pointer topped the podium of the Pro Runabout 785 Class all on a Yamaha GP760.
1998 - WaveRunner XL 1200
The XL1200 debuted as Yamaha’s top model in the full-sized 3-seater category. It won popularity for its unbeatable combination of a powerful engine, a hull that delivered both great running performance and stability and contemporary styling. This model expanded the world of pwc sports to include touring, towing sports and family riding. Its popular body design has been passed on to today’s XL700. Nicolas Rius won the Pro Runabout 1200 class at the 1998 Skat-Trak World Finals on a GP1200.
1999 - WaveRunner SUV 1200 -WaveRunner XL 1200 Ltd.
The SUV1200 debuted as the world’s first 4-passenger pwc. With stability like no pwc before it and handling freedom that belied its size, this model became an industry legend. It further expanded the world of pwc enjoyment to long-distance touring. This particular model is the favourite in offshore racing and the famous Jet Raid race. This same year, Yamaha also introduced the XL1200 Ltd. powered by the industry’s highest horsepower engine at 155 hp. Pro Ski and Pro Runabout classes were won by Rius and Farthing respectively at the 1999 Skat-Trak World Finals.
2000 - WaveRunner GP 1200R
The GP1200R debuted with a 155 hp engine and newly designed hull and body. Its unsurpassed running performance and gorgeous design won it the crown as leader of the muscle craft. It quickly became the must-have machine for the performance-oriented rider. Nicolas Rius was the class of the field in Pro Runabout 1200 at the 2000 Skat-Trak World Finals. Also, Jeff Jacobs won the Pro Ski class on a Super Jet.
2001 - WaveRunner XLT 1200
The XLT1200 debuted as a re-designed version of the XL1200 Ltd. with a completely new front look. This was a model that made many performance-minded customers look to the 3-seater category for the first time. Jeff Jacobs won his 10nth Pro Ski World title on a Super Jet.
2002 - WaveRunner FX140
The FX140 was released as the world’s first 4-stroke engine PWC. Its smooth engine feeling, clean exhaust and reasonable fuel economy revolutionized the world of pwc’s. It also became popular for its new hull design that provides good stability even on rougher waters. A year later the Greek rider Vasilis Moraitis crossed the Aegean Sea in Greece on an FX140, covering 165miles in seven and a half hours under difficult weather conditions, an adventure the was marked with success and proved the bullet proof reliability of the new Four Stroke platform.
2003 - WaveRunner GP 1300R
Raising the displacement of the highly-acclaimed 1200cc engine and adding fuel injection and a high-performance catalytic converter, Yamaha introduced the GP1300R as a revolutionary muscle craft that offered both performance and environmental friendliness. Using a highly tuned version of it Frenchman Nicolas Rius dominated the European Tour and won a World title in 2005 marking the successful end of the two stroke era. This model made Yamaha the leader in environment-friendly models in both 2- and 4-stroke pwc’s. An FX Cruiser version of the FX140 with hip-support seats was also introduced.
2004 - WaveRunner FX Cruiser High Output
The FX High Output and FX Cruiser High Output appeared with higher performance 4-stroke engines. With these models the much talked about 4-stroke models entered the high-performance arena. Yamaha 4-stroke models are now praised throughout the industry for their smooth-running engines, great reliability and outstanding hull performance.
2005 - WaveRunner VX Deluxe
The VX Sport and VX Deluxe are released with the aim of getting more customers to experience the wonderful performance of 4-stroke engine models by offering an irresistible combination of high quality and an affordable price. The engine is a masterpiece of engineering based on the proven high-performance 4-cylinder engine used on the FX High Output models. Combined with a new-design hull, this model opens new horizons for the pwc. The VX was equipped with new 4 stroke engine that marked the second generation of 4T marine engines of Yamaha.
2006 - WaveRunner FX Cruiser High Output - WaveRunner VX 700
The flagship model FX Cruiser High Output appears with improvements that further heighten its unique cruiser concept and a boldly impressive new colored hull. A number of new features like the sporty analogue meter panel accentuate the new world of cruising pleasure this model offers the rider.
Also, as the successor to the popular XL700 that has been the craft of choice at pwc rental operations around the world, Yamaha presents the new model VX700. Mounting the proven, highly durable Yamaha 700 cc 2-stroke engine on VX hull, known for its exciting handling, this model sets a new standard in the entry-level model category.
2007 - WaveRunner VX Cruiser
To the worldwide best-selling VX series we add the new model VX Cruiser with a newly developed "Cruiser Seat." The excellent sense of fit that the riding position of the seat provides makes it possible to experience the fine handling performance of the VX hull even more fully.
2008 - WaveRunner FX SHO
Yamaha introduced the new FX SHO and entered the Supercharge club. Though, the innovative hull manufacturing process opened a new page to the technology of the PWC’s history. The FX SHO marked the season by being the fastest accelerating craft in the 4T muscle craft class.
2008 - WaveRunner Super Jet
A new Super Jet hit the water equipped with a brand new hull originally designed and tested by Rius Racing. The new Super Jet featured a shorter handle pole, hander pole spring, longer ride plate, stainless steel impeller and enhanced ergonomics. In Europe it was imported only for racing use.
2009 - WaveRunner FZR, WaveRunner FX High Output
Yamaha invented the light, smooth-turning hull for the pursuit of sports riding. We coupled it with a 1.8 liter Supercharged engine to increase the excitement of riders on the water. Then we took stand-up riding position concepts and added revolutionary telescopic steering. This model has a 1.8 liter Naturally Aspirated Engine. The large engine displacement creates superb high performance output with unmatched acceleration. At the same time, it achieves remarkable environmental performance with clean emission and low fuel-consumption. The FX High Output points the way to the future of PWCs.
2010 - WaveRunner VX Sport
The world's best-selling PWC since their debut in 2005, VX Series has been renewed for 2010. Yamaha has kept the industry's best fuel efficiency and the quality, and upgraded its premium look with newly designed deck and black hull. The VX Sport is the best machine to simply enjoy riding with excellent cost performance.
2011 – WaveRunner VXR
Yamaha had released its first VXR WaveRunner back in the early nineties. Then Yamaha’s new VXR was first released using a VX hull which utilized the ultra lightweight material “NanoXcel” and was powered by a 1.8 liter High Output engine. Out of all existing runabout models, the VXR laid claim to the lightest body in the personal watercraft industry. This new package refines the speed and agility of the model even further. With the new VXR, riders are reminded of the true nature of sports riding.
2012 - WaveRunner FX SHO/ SHO Cruiser
The FX Cruiser SHO and FX Cruiser HO now come with an all-new body lineup. The remarkably lightweight and longer NanoXcel hull offers better handling and is able to deliver the most stable ride so far, while the instantly activated mechanical neutral enables the craft to start in place and move easily around built up areas. The craft’s Theater-Style Cruiser Seat is an invitation to a flawless 3 – passenger luxury riding experience.
2012- WaveRunner VX700S
The industry’s only 2 stroke runabout model with its 701cc engine is now the VX700S, with a VAR-MAX body. This significantly lighter body with revised weight balance has also achieved further improvements in agility, turning and acceleration performance.