SeaDoo 69

Ever wonder about the birth of the personal watercraft?

A lot of people think the first bouncing baby pee-wee was the Kawasaki Jet Ski in the early ‘70s, a green stand-up machine that combined the skills of waterskiing with the high-octane thrills of riding a motorcycle. I actually owned a yellow 1976 Jet Ski 400, a model that stayed with me all the way through the latter years of high school and college before I unceremoniously dumped it for a shiny red 550 shortly after graduation. But I never owned the first mass-production PWC — the 1968 Sea-Doo, an 18hp beast that sported a 318cc engine and a bright yellow paint job.

Sea-Doo sold these craft for three years, ending with the 1970 model year. Eighteen years later they’d reintroduce the brand and eventually become the market leader.

My good friend, and former editor Joel Johnson wrote a story about how it all came together years ago for Personal Watercraft Illustrated. Click here to read the whole story.