Stand Up Jet Ski Vs Sit Down Jet Ski

How to ride a stand up jet ski

The stand up jet ski vs sit down jet ski debate is perhaps one of the biggest arguments in the pwc community. It’s tough to say for sure which one is better, but there are definitely pros and cons to both styles.

Often times new buyers can be torn between the two, unsure of which one to go with. To make things more difficult, most sources are typically biased towards one side or the other.

Although people on both sides have strong views, there are some undeniable ups and downs to both options.

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History of stand up jet ski vs sit down jet ski

stand up jet ski vs sit down jet skiBefore going into which one is better between stand ups and sit downs, it’s good to know a little background of how they both came to fruition.

Most people are surprised to learn that stand up models were actually made before sit downs. 

This is because the creator of the jet ski, Clayton Jacobson II, was intending to mimic standing up on a dirt bike on the water. After years of racing dirt bikes and experiencing several injuries, Jacobson decided getting thrills on the water might not hurt as much. Anyone who’s fallen off both a dirt bike and a pwc can vouch that his theory was correct.

Jacobson’s first ever jet ski prototype was a stand up model. With his prototype as a proof of concept, he eventually licensed some of his patents to Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP). Soon after that, BRP went on to start Sea Doo, and made the first ever sit down jet ski.

Since Sea Doo licensed patents for a sit down model, it took a few years before and stand up jet skis were mass produced. Not long after Sea Doo started making pwc, Kawasaki came along and licensed the patents for a stand up models. That was the birth of the stand up jet ski vs sit down jet ski argument, and it has been going on ever since.

Stand Up Jet Ski Vs Sit Down Jet Ski

Just like with most arguments, there are good points on both sides. Rather than choosing one side or the other, it’s best to simply analyze the pros and cons of each. After understanding both sides, it’s much easier to make an educated purchasing decision.

Stand Up Jet Ski Pros

  • Price- Stand up jet skis are cheaper than most sit down jet skis. Of course this isn’t always the case, but the majority of sit downs cost more than stand ups. Generally a stand up jet ski costs around $8,000-$10,000 new. For the most part, sit down jet skis cost $6,000-$17,000, with most of them being on the higher end of the spectrum. Judging by the price ranges it’s easy to see that there are sit downs that are more affordable than stand ups, but most of them cost significantly more. Aside from the retail price, there are also higher costs for trailering and storing a sit down model.
  • Size- One of the more obvious benefits of a stand up jet ski is the smaller size. This makes them much easier to store and transport. Smaller trailers can be used for stand ups, but some people even transport them in the back of a truck.
  • Maintenance- A lot of people would argue that stand ups are easier to maintain because they have a simpler build. There aren’t as many display functions, and the overall mechanics aren’t as complicated. This can be a major benefit to a lot of people, especially those who are mechanically savvy.
  • Performance- Without a doubt one of the biggest reasons why people choose a stand up jet ski vs sit down jet ski models is their performance. A stand up has a playful, responsive, sporty ride that sit downs can’t compete with. After all, when was the last time someone backflipped a sit down in a backyard swimming pool?

Sit Down Jet Ski Pros

  • Price- Despite the fact that on average stand up jet ski models are more affordable, there a plenty of options on the sit down side that cost thousands less than a stand up. Some of the most inexpensive models in production are sit downs. So even though stand up jet skis on average cost less, overall the most affordable models are sit downs.
  • Size- The size of sit down jet skis can be both a pro and a con. Their large size makes them heavy, require more space, and need bigger trailers. However, the large size comes with some positives as well. Riding with passengers isn’t even an option for stand up models. When it comes to sit downs, it’s rare to find a model that doesn’t seat at least 3 people. Seating capacity aside, sit down models also allow for tow sports. One of the biggest reasons why people purchase pwc is for tow sports, so this is definitely a huge benefit.
  • Selection- It’s safe to say sit downs have stand ups beat by a long shot in terms of selection. As of now there are only 2 stand up jet ski models in production. That pales in comparison to the 44 different sit down models currently available. The large selection size of sit downs allows buyers to find a tailored fit to whatever their needs are. It’s worth noting that having so many options may make the buying process a little more difficult, but sometimes it’s better to have more than less.
  • Performance- Sit down jet ski really vary in terms of the type of ride they have. Some of them are fast and agile, while others are better for smooth cruising. Unfortunately no sit downs are going to be able to do the tricks a stand up can, however, that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as fun to ride. Some of the fastest jet skis in the world are sit down models. Some of the most comfortable jet skis in the world are sit down models. Just because they can’t do a backflip, doesn’t mean they don’t have any benefits.

Stand up Jet Ski Vs Sit Down Jet Ski – Which is better?

For the most part, there isn’t a for sure answer on which style of jet ski is the best. Really what it comes down to is what an individual expects to get out of their pwc.

People with families tend to gravitate towards sit downs, simply for their size and capacity. They can hold more people, carry more stuff, and are much more comfortable to ride for long periods.

Overall, stand up models are really geared more towards individual riders. It’s really easy to just take a stand up down to the lake for a quick hour or two ride. They don’t require large trailers, and it’s not an entire project putting them in and taking them out of the water.

Other than the Sea Doo vs Yamaha vs Kawasaki debate, the stand up jet ski vs sit down jet ski argument is definitely one of the biggest conflicts among pwc owners. In the end, there is no one answer. They both have pros, and the both have cons. Deciding which one is better is going to vary from person to person. It’s important to remember that what’s best for one person, isn’t always best for everyone.
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