From Issue Two of the Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today for 15% off the GP Store.
If you don’t have swag in Miami, you don’t have anything. And I’m not talking street swag: white cabana pants, Hawaiian flower-power shirt and a straw hat from your abuelito in Havana. I’m talking swag that comes with 300 horses in the hull and a bright swipe of Torch Red down the sides. This is the swag of a personal watercraft with both forward and reverse propulsion. This is can’t-get-lost-in-Biscayne-Bay-at-midnight-if-you-tried-because-your-whip-has-too-much-swag, swag (all respect, DJ Khaled).
So with an armada of the newest personal watercraft available from the most robust brands — Yamaha, Kawasaki and Sea-Doo — our crew hit the warm waters of Miami to test out this crop against some mild wind chop. Each craft posed its own swag perks — speakers on the Kawasaki, dual cup holders on the Yamaha, an attitude graphics kit on the mini-Doo — and each vehicle was manned by a respective corner of the Miami scene — a model, a Pro Watercross racer, a financial analyst, a tourist (me), a photographer and the bassist from the band the Jacuzzi Boys. We took these personal water rockets into the bay on a balmy Wednesday to race around islands, beach on Monument Island, drag race past bayside McMansions, go airborne on eight-foot swells in the open waters of the Atlantic and dock at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach, for some coconuts and fish tacos. In all, an appropriate day of testing one’s swag factor on the biggest aquatic peacocking grounds this side of Monaco.
The Water Whips
No Supercharged Engine? That’s So Weak
Sea-Doo RXT-X 300
A beastly engine in a beautiful package, the RXT-X is Sea-Doo’s racing-inspired PWC, with plenty enough horses to blow off even the most committed Floridian toupee.
Engine: 1,630cc Supercharged Rotax Inline 3
Dry Weight: 914 pounds
Yamaha FX Crusier SVHO
If your idea of a proper land-lubbing drive is rolling in a Bentley Flying Spur (in the backseat, naturally), then this waverunner was made for you. All the creature comforts of a luxury yacht, packed onto a personal watercraft fit for three.
Engine: 1,812cc Supercharged 4-cylinder
Dry Weight: 836 pounds
Kawasaki Jet Ski STX15F
This jet-powered ski is the versatile choice. And for those who are doing the math, that 1,498cc engine with the 845-pound curb weight means you’ll have plenty of power for drag races on the open seas.
Engine: 1,498cc Inline 4
Curb Weight: 845 pounds
Yamaha calls it “The Choice of Champions,” and you’ll feel like nothing but a winner aboard this floating rocket. The 1,812cc engine is good for spritely 0-60 mph sprints that’ll put all other watercraft deep in your wake.
Engine: 1,812cc Supercharged 4-cylinder
Dry Weight: 791 pounds
This little skipper is the entry-level option into the PWC world, and it’s welcoming the world with plenty of funk and spunk. Graphics kits, bold colors and plenty of cornering makes the Spark the best $5K one can blow on a “grown-up’s” toy.
Engine: 899cc Rotax Inline 3
Dry Weight: 405 pounds
Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310LX
Not for the feeble of throttle finger, the 310LX is ready to compete with the best and fastest. And, for bonus swag, it comes with a Jetsound audio system, for rock on the roll of the waters.
Engine: 1498cc Supercharged Inline 4
Curb Weight: 1,074 pounds
Bigger Boat: Midnight Express 39S Open
No, a 39-foot boat should not be able to hit eight feet of air — that’s distance between hull and water — in wayward swells in the Atlantic. But, this is a superboat, with a two-step hull for stabilization and carbon fiber throughout to optimize weight and increase the thing that matters most: speed.
Engines: Triple Mercury Verado 350
MSRP: $357,251 (as outfitted)
What You Need to Boost Your Swag
Grandy Sunglasses by Orlebar Brown $300
Feterman Sunglasses by SALT $415
Roy Sunglasses by SALT $415
Wilcox Sunglasses by SALT $415
Top Bar Sunglasses by John Varvatos Soho Collection $315
Outlier XL Sunglasses by Smith $150
Montauk Sounders Strap by Sounder Goods $35
A version of this story appears in Issue Two of the Gear Patrol Magazine, 286 pages of stories, reports, interviews and original photography from five distinct locations around the world. Subscribe Now: $35