This year, we celebrate our 50th anniversary and we’re taking a look back at the innovation, design and evolution of our watercraft.
From the first Sea-Doo watercraft launched in 1968 to the 2018 debut of our award-winning GTX 300 Limited – with a revolutionary hull platform design that allows watercraft riders to go further and experience more, we’ve always been driven by a passion for design, a commitment to technological innovation and our desire to provide more people, more fun on the water.
Over that 50-year period, Sea-Doo has launched a fleet of benchmark setting watercraft models and established a multitude of innovation milestones.
50 Years of Sea-Doo History
In 1968, the first mass-produced, water jet-powered, sit-down personal watercraft was introduced as a Sea-Doo and with its launch – it launched an industry that has produced nearly two million personal watercrafts.
The first Sea-Doo watercraft was introduced as a two-seat model powered by an air-cooled, 320cc Rotax engine. To prove its capabilities, Bombardier CEO and President at the time, Laurent Beaudoin and his management team rode new Sea-Doo watercraft from Montreal to New York City, a trip with over 430-miles through Lake Champlain and down the Hudson River.
Archive footage from 1968 depicting Sea-Doo watercraft on the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
At the time of its introduction, the first Sea-Doo was truly an innovative and futuristic concept which made a big splash with water enthusiasts. As a matter of fact, the 1968/1969 model was a pop culture hit and was featured in a commercial from Fanta that aired in 1970.
1970 Fanta soda commercial featuring a 1969 Sea-Doo.
The Sea-Doo watercraft was re-launched. Powered by a 580cc Rotax rotary valve engine, the Sea-Doo 5801 model featured an innovative V-Hull design.
The first three-seater watercraft was introduced as the Sea-Doo GT (Grand Touring) The GT offered greater storage and mechanical reverse system and was capable of legally pulling a skier with seating for a driver, spotter, and skier.
The first high-performance Sea-Doo was introduced in the XP model featuring twin carburetors and tuned exhaust pipe and commanded attention with aggressive graphics.
The Sea-Doo HX featured the first suspension seat that lowered the rider’s center of gravity during aggressive, lean-in cornering. The XP 785 was also introduced in 1995 utilizing the tuneable X4 hull and powered by the 785 cc R.A.V.E. engine. The XP 785 model (later XP800) has the most watercraft racing wins of all time.
The most redefining watercraft design of the first 40 years was that of the 1997 Sea-Doo XP that included a suspension seat and hyperbolic hull design and was later named ‘Watercraft of the Century’ by Watercraft World Magazine.
Sea-Doo lead the industry with clean and quiet technology in the GTX RFI model (Rotax semi-direct fuel injection) reducing emissions by 15% and lowering noise output with the D-Sea-Bel sound reduction technology.
The Millennium edition models came equipped with DI (Direct Injection) technology to further reduce emissions and the Sea-Doo Learning Key that electronically controlled acceleration and top speed for new riders.
Four-Stroke technology was introduced in the GTX 4-TEC models and also included O.P.A.S. (Off Powered Assisted Steering) for an added level of control.
The supercharged Sea-Doo RXP 215 was the first watercraft to top 200HP and its ominous design defined the category of modern “musclecraft.”
Innovation reached new heights with the launch of iControl that included the first and only braking system (iBR), electronically adjustable throttle system (iTC) and full-rider, self-adjusting suspension system (iS).
Watercraft performance was truly redefined with the RXP-X 260 featuring the T3 (Tight-Turning, T-Shape) hull that cuts through chop and leans into corners tighter than any hull before it and the complimenting rider Ergolock system with narrowing seat and knee flairs allowing the rider to maximize the available power by feeling one with the machine. The RXP-X has been undefeated at the IJSBA World Finals in the Pro Open and Pro GP classes since its introduction.
The Sea-Doo SPARK was a design and engineering case study, built to be accessible and fun for the next generation of Sea-Doo owners, redefining how a watercraft (or any product) could be built,. The SPARK was based on the mandate of being Clean, Affordable, Easy and Fun at a price almost anyone could afford. The SPARK has contributed to the watercraft industry’s 60% growth since its introduction, by bringing new people into the sport.
The Rotax 1630 ACE engine producing 300HP set new benchmarks in Sea-Doo performance, with 0-60mph acceleration being achieved in under five-seconds.
50 years later innovation continues, with the introduction of the 2018 Sea-Doo GTX, RXT, and WAKE PRO with more usable space, plug and play accessories, superior stability in any conditions, ingenious storage and a Bluetooth audio sound system. Life onboard has completely changed. This new platform has a lower center of gravity along with the new ultra stable ST3 hull. Sea-Doo riders can take their adventures further than ever before with the new 2018 watercraft models.