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The Intrepid Cottager, Craig Nicholson is a guest blogger for Sea-Doo and in this blog he reviews his opinions on how to determine which Sea-Doo is right for you…

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With so many models and prices to choose from, how do you know which Sea-Doo is right for you? In my blog “Sea-Doo Watercraft Buying Tips”, I discussed many of the basic questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a PWC. This blog deals what model to select and how.

I was going to write about the factors I’d consider, but discovered that Sea-Doo already has that well covered on their website. On their home page, there’s a “Help Me Choose” box that helps you select your riding preferences. Based on your choices, the Sea-Doo Selection Preference Tool recommends the best model for your intended uses. So rather than re-invent the wheel, I’m going to add my two cents to what they’ve already provided…

Riding Style – This preference offers three options. Here are some descriptive words I’d use toic blog 2 flesh them out a bit (understanding that there will always be some overlap and grey areas among the options): “Playful” – For this lively rider, fun is putting the craft thru its paces, doing tricks, donuts and change-ups, while getting wet (and cooling off) in the process. “Aggressive” – This thrill-seeking rider prefers to conquer the waves at brisk pace with plenty of power, performance, and technology on board. “Relaxed” – For this cruising rider, the main priority is comfort and luxury while touring the waterways to see new sights and go different places.

ic blog 3Seating – Choose from one to three seats, depending on how many people will typically ride together on one watercraft. But depending on your age and size, don’t overlook the consideration that a two-seater may always be more comfortable for a solo rider, while a three-seater is roomier for a couple that always ride together 2-up. The choice of seats also impacts manoeuvring and handling: one-seaters are typically lighter and more nimble than three-seaters. Also, be aware that if you intend to legally use your craft, however infrequently for any tow sports, you need three seats: operator, spotter and space for the person being towed. Generally, the more seats you have, the more versatile your new watercraft will be to adapt your changing needs over time.

Riding Time – For clarification, Riding Time in this context means how long you ride on each ic blog 4occasion you use your watercraft, not your total riding hours each year (which should be longer overall for those living in warmer climates). To me, the Riding Time choice also speaks directly to Riding Style, above. As a “Relaxed” Rider (albeit with a touch of aggression thrown in for good measure) who cruises for lots of hours, I choose the most comfortable, luxurious and effortless model available. I think most baby boomers should go this way, simply because it’s easier on the bod, regardless of how long you go for. On the other hand, if your primary Riding Style is “Playful”, you’re likely doing a couple of hours here and there on weekends, so your Riding Time may be “Short” or “Medium”, not “Long”. If this is your first PWC, it may be hard to estimate your Riding Time, but if you base your best guess on how many hours you actually have available to spend on the water, you should be fairly accurate.

Water Type – This preference is asking for two considerations. One, do you primarily intend to ic blog 5ride freshwater (inland waterway) or salt water (ocean)? Generally, ocean riding tends to involve more waves and challenging conditions, but larger freshwater lakes can be just as demanding. Two, do you intend to ride only in mostly flat conditions but can handle some mild chop if it happens, or are you willing (and able) to ride even if it’s rough? These two considerations will help determine: the size of watercraft you may need (In my experience, larger ones are more stable and handle rough water better.); and whether or not to get suspension (For cruising and day-trip riding, I wouldn’t ride without it.) Also, remember that if you only go when the water’s flat, your Riding Time may be lower than you originally anticipated.

Speed – This preference will help determine what size engine you need. Generally, the bigger ic blog 6the engine and the faster you go, the more gas you’ll use. A “Playful” rider likely doesn’t need as much oomph as an “Aggressive” rider, and a “Relaxed” rider probably falls somewhere in between. I’ve found that for cruising, it’s always good to have a little power to spare.

Speed – This preference will help determine what size engine you need. Generally, the bigger the engine and the faster you go, the more gas you’ll use. A “Playful” rider likely doesn’t need as much oomph as an “Aggressive” rider, and a “Relaxed” rider probably falls somewhere in between. I’ve found that for cruising, it’s always good to have a little power to spare.

Comfort – Again this preference also speaks to other categories. Comfort is a big factor in Riding Style and Water Type and may also affect your ic blog 7Riding Time. Bluntly, I think it also speaks to age – comfort features and benefits may be a greater consideration for baby boomers than for Gen Yer’s. One thing I know for sure – the longer each ride is, and the more frequently I ride, the more important comfort, especially suspension is to me.

So What Am I Riding? I decided to check the accuracy of Sea-Doo’s Selection Preference Tool by entering my own choices. I selected the following preferences: Riding Style – “Relaxed”; Seating – “3”; Riding Time – “Long”; Water Type – “Rough”; Speed – “Somewhat”; Comfort – “Very”. For me, the selection tool recommended a GTX S 155. This selection is right on the money, because a 2014 GTX S 155 is exactly what I had already ordered last spring before knowing about the tool.

Equally accurate, by changing my need for Speed preference from “Somewhat“ to “Very” (as in fast), Sea-Doo’s tool recommended a GTX Limited iS 260 instead (what I have been riding for the past two seasons). Actually, my ideal engine size would be a 215cc, but there’s no Sea-Doo model available with that power output with suspension, so this season I decided my wife and I would each ride a GTX S 155 – I’ll let you know how that works out. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a new Sea-Doo or wonder if the one you have is right, check out Sea-Doo’s Selection Preference Tool for yourself!

For more information on The Intrepid Cottager click here.