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07.9.2019 Drew Bartek

The Difference Between Stand Up and Sit Down Jet Skis

In 1976 the first Jet Ski was produced by Kawasaki called the JS400-A, this was a stand up PWC and the start of the sport of jet skiing.  It took about 10 years before the revolutionary "sit down" PWC from Yamaha in 1986.  Nowadays you have the option on whether you want a stand up Jet Ski or a sit down.  We are going to review some of the differences between the two and which one is right for you.

The main difference between the two models is that stand up models you are forced to stand while you ride and it is much for difficult to ride.  There is a learning curve when first riding stand up where a sit down jet ski just about anyone can figure it out in a minute and get to riding.

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Benefits of Stand Up 

Riding a Stand Up is a completely different experience than a sit down jet ski.  Many stand up riders describe the experience as more engaging requiring them to have a higher level of balance and finesse while riding.

There are many pros to owning a stand up from size, maintenance, performance and price.  The obvious benefit by just looking at it, is that it is a smaller size.  Having a smaller PWC makes it easier to store and transport.  I've even seen people transport these in the bed of their truck.  When it comes to maintenance, they are a lot easier to maintain as their build is simple.  They don't have all of the bells and whistles from a display standpoint making them all around less complicated.  You can expect to not pay as much money in maintenance. 

Performance is probably the main reason why people choose to ride stand up.  Stand Ups are often the choice of ride for people that like to race. It's no secret that stand ups are viewed as the sports cars of jet skis.  They can be flashy,  sporty ride and allow you to even a bunch of tricks, like a backflip if you so desire. When it comes to cost Stand Ups are around $10,000 brand new.  

One of the disadvantages is that its strictly a solo activity.  You can't fit multiple people on your stand up and you aren't going to be pulling anyone behind you.  Tubing or long-distance cruising are a better fit for sit down jet skis.  Another thing to note is that due to it being difficult to ride at first, it isn't the best watercraft to share with others that are inexperienced such as other family members or guests.  But maybe you like to roll solo, in that case a stand up is a perfect fit.

Advantages of Sit Down

Riding a Sit Down Jet Ski is easy, it changed the sport when the first model came out.  Opening the door for many people to join in.  Just about anyone can do it and it can be a lot of fun. One of the big advantages is the larger size allowing anywhere from 2-3 riders experience the fun at a time.  Due to the larger size the sit down model can handle tow sports.  This is a huge benefit if you are wanting to do some tow sports but can't afford a boat or just like having the flexibility of a jet ski.  These models are much more accommodating for groups of people and can often be more social with cruising and tow sports. 

From a performance standpoint sit down jet skis can have anywhere from 90 - 300 horsepower and can reach a top speed of around 70 mph for the higher horsepower models.  If a storage compartment is important to you then sit down skis are the way to go, nowadays they all have storage compartments for your phone or whatever else you want to put in there.

When comes to different types of Sit Down Models they range all over the board compared to the limited different options in stand ups.  You can have high performance sit downs that are just as fast if not faster than stand ups.  You also can get lots of add on features to increase the comfort and experience.  From a price perspective the range goes from $5,000-$20,000 depending on the features and performance that you are looking for.  With all of these different options and price range you can easily find a jet ski that is perfectly tailored to your desires.

One feature you are seeing more often in sit downs is speakers for music.  Many new jet skis are coming equipped with speakers.  Or you might see current owners adding their own through DIY or paying someone else to install a sound system.  Sound systems are typically only found on sit downs as they are a bigger watercraft and have more room to add them on.  Having the addition of music can be expensive regardless often costing well over $500.

An alternative to an entire sound system is the Groove Vest a jet ski vest with integrated speakers that can play music loud and clear for your rides.  This vest is compatible for both stand up and sit down riders.  The vest is equipped with built in memory, no more worrying about what to do with your phone or draining your battery.  Additionally the vest has control buttons on the front giving the user easy access to choose the perfect song and get the volume just right.  The Groove Vest will be available summer 2020!


If you found this article interesting you should check out our other Jet Ski articles down below!

Hidden Cost of Owning a Jet Ski

The Cheapest Jet Ski You Can Buy

Jet Ski Gloves Buyers Guide

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Published by Drew Bartek July 9, 2019
Drew Bartek