VIDEO: The Original Kawasaki Jet Ski

Kawasaki Good Times Theater features the original 1975 Kawasaki Jet Ski.

19th May 2010.
By Jeff Hemmel

My attention was recently brought to this video of the original Kawasaki Jet Ski stand-up. It’s classic, vintage stuff, but it also brings back a lot of memories.

I actually owned one of these models. I found it in 1978 while on vacation with my parents. It had a hole punched in the bow and needed some fiberglass work, but somehow I convinced my parents to let me clean out my bank account and purchase it for all of $400. My father took out the passenger seat of his sports car, and we actually loaded it right through the hatchback.

My first ride on this ski was equally memorable. I skipped school and took it up to a lake in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York. It was April, and the ice had just broken up. Long story short the ski dumped me, then took off. Back in those days they circled, rather than featured a safety lanyard. Mine, however, left me hanging in the frigid water and eventually ran up on shore about half a mile away. Apparently the idle was cranked up a little high. Wearing only a pair of shorts and a lifevest, I think I just about got hypothermia swimming for it.

Everything ended well. I made it to the ski, cleared the rocks it had now sucked up out of the impeller, and actually rode it back to shore. I rode that ski for years, before finally buying a new 550cc model in 1985.

Now, I wish I still had it…

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About the author:

Jeff Hemmel

Jeff Hemmel writes for, Boating,, and Powersports Business. The former Senior Editor at Watercraft World, Jeff is a multi-time award winner as well as a 2008 inductee into the IJSBA Hall of Fame. His first book, "The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon...and 101 Other Things For Young Mariners To Try, Do, & Build On the Water," received a bronze medal in the 2010 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. For more info, visit Jeff Hemmel's website.

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