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Where To Catch a Free PWC Ride This Summer

Find out about a Yamaha or Sea-Doo demo day near you.

June 27, 2013

Over the years I’ve fielded a lot of questions about exactly which personal watercraft an individual should buy. I’m honest with my recommendations, but I couch them all with the same suggestion — if at all possible, get a test ride. It only makes sense. A certain model can look oh so cool in the showroom, or have garnered terrific reviews in the press, but until you actually sit in its saddle, punch its throttle, and power it through a turn, you really don’t know if it’s the craft for you.

It’s during a test ride that you’ll notice all those little details. Like how the seat fits you, do you like the hull’s ride, is it wet or dry, are the controls intuitive and easy to use, is the craft stable at high speeds, do you like how it feels powering through a tight corner? All these and more are things can make a craft perfect for you, or convince you to look elsewhere. And none can be discerned from any photo, video, or (as much as it pains me to admit) a writer’s description. Sure, my opinion is of value. I’ve ridden these things for over 30 years now. And I get to ride them all, meaning I know how they compare to what else is currently on the market. But individuals have individual preferences, and the only way to see if a craft fits yours is to get some time in the saddle.

Thankfully, two manufacturers — Sea-Doo and Yamaha — are making it a little easier to do that. Sea-Doo is once again in the middle of its Sea-Doo Test Ride Tour, which puts an East Coast and West Coast team on the road and has them visit as many popular PWC hotspots as possible. Those teams are ready to help answer questions, show you the new features, and help you get some time on a boat before you choose it. The Sea-Doo tour continues until the end of July. Want a schedule? Look for it at www.ibrake4.com.

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Yamaha is also offering test rides, but in a different format. Rather than put a crew on the road, Yamaha is essentially turning to its dealers, encouraging them to put on their own “demo days.” Customers can sign up at a participating dealer in their area by visiting the www.YamahaOnTheWater.com web page. Individual dealers can make the events a big deal, or choose to conduct a more intimate test ride. Either way, the customer will get on the craft they’re interested in, as well as get to know the dealer they may be buying it from.

If you’re seriously interested in a personal watercraft, I’d urge you to check out one of these demo opportunities if they’re available to you. And if they’re not, tell your dealer you need to try a craft before you make a purchase. It only makes sense.

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