Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

PWC

Loz and Noel take the Sea-Doo Spark for a run

The Sea-Doo Spark is by far the cheapest and least powerful jet ski you can buy. It's also much, much lighter than its competition, giving it a competitive power to weight ratio and some unique handling abilities. And it burns just over a tenth of the fuel the big boys do. Loz Blain and Noel McKeegan take it for a spin.  Read More

Gizmag's Loz Blain comes to grips with the Sea-Doo Spark (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag.com)

The PWC market has been in decline for a number of years, possibly because jet skis have become so gigantic, powerful, expensive and fuel hungry that they've stopped appealing to younger folk. Sea-Doo is starting to turn that around, though, with the release of the Spark. Half the price, half the weight and half the power of a regular midrange jet ski, the Spark delivers 90 percent of the fun of a more expensive PWC in a way that's much more accessible and attractive to newcomers … and burns nearly ten times less fuel than the big boys. If it's newbies the Spark is hoping to attract, then we've got a total newbie on the team to test it. The completely inexperienced Loz Blain and the moderately experienced Noel McKeegan take to the water to see how she goes. Rejoice, dear readers, that Loz didn't fit into a wetsuit, and is thus not depicted in skin tight clothing.  Read More

Belassi B3R Sport - the world's most powerful production PWC

Seven years ago, Gizmag's Mike Hanlon made a bold prediction: the 400-horsepower PWC cometh. With Benelli's top of the line V6 jet ski smashing out some 342 horsepower, and a series of supercharged Hondas, Sea-Doos, MV Agustas and Kawasakis nipping at its heels, it seemed a horsepower war was brewing. But in the aftermath of 2008's global financial system collapse, it seems things have gone back to slightly more sensible levels. We say *more* sensible, because Benelli has just rebranded its PWC business as Belassi and built a brand new, turbocharged engine pounding out 315 horses to take the mantle of the world's current reigning production PWC horsepower champion. It's not the 400-horsepower beast that Mike feared, but it still looks like a heck of a fun way to burn petrol.  Read More

The AlumaSki is intended for recreational use, along with rescue and defense applications

Jet Skis are certainly able to squeeze into narrow waterways, although you probably wouldn't feel comfortable scraping one's hull against a rocky riverbed. Steel-hulled jet boats are considerably tougher than Jet Skis, but they're not nearly as nimble. Alaska-based Mackinnon Marine Technologies' AlumaSki, however, attempts to combine the best of both worlds. It has the form factor of a personal watercraft, along with a one-piece quarter-inch-thick aluminum hull.  Read More

Trolling the local waters on the WaveJet Pau Hana Angler

Always looking for a new excuse to run its electric jet drive through the water, WaveJet has released a new board designed for fishing. The Pau Hana Big EZ Angler is the jet-powered stand-up paddleboard that provides stand-up fishermen with a new way to quietly troll the local fishing hole.  Read More

A rendering of the V8 Wet Rod

If you're a millionaire who wants the ultimate in opulence for your sea voyages, you get yourself a luxury yacht. However, what about those times when you're just playing around? Currently, you get the same Jet Ski-type thing as everyone else ... although there may soon be an alternative. Yacht designer Kurt Strand has just announced his forthcoming Strand Craft V8 Wet Rod luxury personal watercraft.  Read More

The all-new Sea-Doo Search and Rescue

Bombadier Recreational Products has revealed the all-new Sea-Doo Search and Rescue, a personal watercraft built specifically for water rescue operations. Developed with input from fire rescue personnel and other end users, the Sea-Doo SAR is built with the strength and stability necessary for pulling people out of rough, deadly water.  Read More

The BomBoard disassembles into four modules, and can be put back together in one minute

Personal water craft (or PWCs) have been around since the 1950s, and received a boost in popularity when the Kawasaki Jet Ski was released in 1973. Since then, we've seen the introduction of a number of makes and models, all boasting their own unique features. One of the latest, the BomBoard, is claimed to be the world's only modular PWC – and at a planned price of US$3,495, it could also be the cheapest.  Read More

The X-Jetpacks H3X Hydro hits the water

Water-based jetpacking originally looked like an insane activity for the extremely rich and bored, but it has gradually gained in popularity. First, we saw the JetLev-Flyer, then the Flyboard, and now the X-Jetpack H3X Hydro. More than just a "me too" competitor in the water jetpack market, the H3X offers a few key evolutionary advantages for novices, families and daredevils alike.  Read More

With both the Flyboard and Jetovator under US$10,000, an entirely new water sport can be h...

The propagation of new thought in any global arena doesn't take long these days and with rapid development teams capable of building and testing prototypes in just a few months, entire markets can seemingly spring from nowhere. In 2009, JetLev showed its US$100,000 Jetlev (top left). Within months of production starting, French PWC legend Franky Zapata recognized that most of the hardware required for such a device was already contained in a PWC and created the Flyboard (top right) - a US$7500 accessory that attaches to any existing PWC with 150 plus horsepower. Now the people who brought you the Sea Breacher (bottom left) have completed a long-standing project to build the Jetovator (bottom right), a jet bike with a motorcycle seating position and controls. Three competitors makes a market - and all inside three short years.  Read More

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