Celebrating 50 years of Good Times on the Water: A Look Back at Kawasaki’s Jet Ski Heritage

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. is paying homage to the 50 year Kawasaki Jet Ski heritage of its iconic Jet Ski® personal watercraft (PWC) with the ’50 Years of Exhilaration’ celebration. For half a century, Kawasaki has been synonymous with providing adventure and fun on the waters, from their liquid-cooled 400cc two-stroke twin engine debut in 1973 to the modern-day supercharged 1,498cc inline four-stroke marine engine.

50 year Kawasaki Jet Ski
1975 JS400

The introduction of the stand-up Jet Ski watercraft was among the first projects of Kawasaki’s new R&D department in Southern California. After prototyping both flat-hull and V-hull stand-up models, they went into full production in 1975 at Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. In 1986, the first mass-produced sit-down model – the X2 – was released, which paved the way for the Jet Ski® Ultra® and Jet Ski® STX® lineup of three-passenger runabouts.

In 2007, the Jet Ski® Ultra® 250X was released as the company’s first supercharged PWC, featuring a 1498cc engine derived from the Ninja® ZX™-14. Ten years later, Kawasaki returned to its roots with the introduction of their four-stroke stand-up Jet Ski SX-R™. Continuing their commitment to the PWC category, Kawasaki has since released class-leading models such as the Jet Ski® Ultra® 160 and Ultra® 310.

50 year Kawasaki Jet Ski

“For 50 years, Kawasaki Jet Ski has been synonymous with Good Times on the water,” stated Bob O’Brien, Director of Marketing. “As an early leader in the PWC category, Kawasaki and Jet Ski developed a fun-loving lifestyle centered around the exhilaration of combining speed with control.”

Kawasaki’s 50-year celebration highlights its ongoing dedication to innovating within the personal watercraft market and providing customers with Good Times on the water. With so much to look forward to, there’s no doubt that the future of Jet Ski® is as bright as its past.

50 year Kawasaki Jet Ski

About Kawasaki

Kawasaki started full-scale production of motorcycles over a half-century ago. The first Kawasaki motorcycle engine was designed based on technical know-how garnered from the development and production of aircraft engines, and Kawasaki’s entry into the motorcycle industry was driven by the company’s constant effort to develop new technologies. Numerous new Kawasaki models introduced over the years have helped shape the market and, in the process, have created enduring legends based on their unique engineering, power, design, and riding pleasure. In the future, Kawasaki Motors, Ltd. is committed to maintaining and furthering these strengths, which will surely give birth to new legends.

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, side x sides, and JET SKI® watercraft through a network of approximately 1,100 independent retailers, with close to an additional 7,700 retailers specializing in general-purpose engines. Kawasaki and its affiliates employ nearly 3,100 people in the United States, with approximately 260 of them located at Kawasaki’s Foothill Ranch, California headquarters.

Kawasaki’s tagline, “Let the good times roll.®,” is recognized worldwide. The Kawasaki brand is synonymous with powerful, stylish, and category-leading vehicles. Information about Kawasaki’s complete line of powersports products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com.

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