The Octane has a 100-horsepower, 777cc engine.

The Octane has a 100-horsepower, 777cc engine.

MIAMI — Although three-passenger models have been the biggest sellers in the personal watercraft market in recent years, industry insiders are banking on the booming popularity of "extreme sports" to drive the stand-up watercraft market. That, combined with the fact that Polaris consistently has proven itself to be a performance-oriented watercraft builder (recall the sizzling Pro 785 and even the ill-fated Hurricane model) is at least a good part of the reason addition of the Octane stand-up to the Polaris line.

The Octane, which will go head to head with Kawasaki's Jet Ski SXI Pro and Yamaha's SuperJet, was introduced to several members of the media at the watercraft World Finals on October 2001 on Arizona's Lake Havasu. I haven't ridden it yet (I will ride and review one this summer), but at the very least the new stand-up is intriguing.

First, at least from my power-loving point of view, it's potent. The Octane has a 100-horsepower, 777cc engine. That's 25 horsepower more than the Kawasaki stand-up and 27 horsepower more than the Yamaha model. Of course, power isn't everything — balance and agility are crucial, particularly with stand-ups. Again, I haven't ridden it but according to Polaris press information the Octane comes standard with a U.M.I. Racing steering system, a wide standing tray with a Hydro-Turf surface and a short, lightweight aluminum handle pole, which reportedly lowers a rider's center of gravity.

Wamiltons Customs, a well-known name in the watercraft racing world, designed the Octane's Double Concave Wammer-V hull, which incorporates sharp chines. The model measures 190 inches long and 30 inches wide, and weighs 300 pounds (dry). Constructed of fiberglass reinforced composite, the watercraft is dressed in racing red and features a "1 plate" on its deck.