Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jet Ski

Jet Ski is the brand name of personal watercraft (PWC) manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The name, however, has become a genericized trademark for any type of personal watercraft. Jet Ski (or JetSki, often shortened to "Ski") can also refer to versions of PWCs with pivoting handlepoles known as "stand-ups." Sit Down PWCs are also called "Jet Skis." Also, "WaveRunners" and "Jet Skis" are essentially the same thing; but "WaveRunner" is the trademark name for Yamaha's line of water craft. Whereas "Jet Ski" is the trademark for Kawasaki's line.

Freestyle riding of personal watercraft is done stand up PWC, with the exception of a few other PWCs including the Yamaha Waveblaster Sea-Doo 3d, RXP and XP. Modern freestyle utilizes primarily the Yamaha Superjet, as it is lighter and smaller than the Kawasaki SX-R. Jetski freestyle consists of many different tricks, including big air, hood tricks and technical tricks which, just like in BMX and Motocross, are judged on the quality and skill shown in routines.

Professional Freestyle competition started in the late 1970's with the formation of the USJSBA, (later changed to the IJSBA). In the early 1980's, 2-time World Freestyle Champion, Larry "The Ripper" Rippenkroeger and 1983 World Freestyle Champion, "Flyin" Brian Bendix, became industry recognized names. During the mid 1980's, freestyle competition was dominated by 5-time consecutive World Freestyle Champion, David "The Flash" Gordon, who had a style characterized by finesse, poise, and technique.
Gordon held the title of World Freestyle Champion from 1984 through 1988. The 1990's ushered in a new era of freestyle competition. New factory hull designs, (wider & longer hull configurations), customized hull/tray modifications, and more powerful engines, were contributing factors that influenced a shift from "finesse" or "gymnastics" style maneuvers to aerial based stunts. Names like Scott "Hollywood" Watkins and Jeff Kantz, helped pave the way into the new "style" of freestyle competition. Stunts like the aerial "back flip" and the "barrel roll", which Jeff Kantz invented and Rick Roy perfected, became staples in freestyle competition events.
The mid 1990's also saw a fundamental shift from multi-discipline competitors like Brian Bendix, David Gordon, and Larry Rippenkroeger, who competed in Freestyle as well as Slalom and Closed Course events, to single-discipline competitors like Marc Sickerling, Rick Roy, and Eric Malone, who specialized in Freestyle exclusively. Eric Malone went on to become an 8-time freestyle champion, while perfecting the back flip on flat water. Quincy Anderson is a renowned freestyle Jetter artist that specializes in lake painting using a customized system of levers and dyes.

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