Freestyle trick riding played a large part in personal watercraft’s early growth. Lightweight stand-up PWCs could be muscled or finessed into a variety of fun maneuvers. Old-school sit-down craft, like the Sea-Doo SP, were a favorite for spinning out into 180s and 360s.
Somewhere along the line of personal watercraft’s evolution, however, loose and playful hulls lost out to precise bottoms that railed corners with tenacity. After decades of precision, Sea-Doo’s playful SPARK brought back a few of those old-school memories. Recently, the SPARK TRIXX increased our nostalgia, adding mechanical features like an extended-range variable electronic trim, extendable handlebars, and angled footrests at the back of the footwells to make it easier than ever for nearly any rider to get their freestyle on.
Want to get tricky? Here are three impressive moves that can be performed by any TRIXX rider with a minimum of practice. Bonus? Each move builds on the previous maneuver, resulting in the ultimate freestyle bang for the buck.
The 180-Degree Spinout
The basic 180-degree spin is the classic freestyle move. Pick a spot, flick the bars, and the tail end of the craft breaks loose into the ultimate power slide.
To set up for a 180, pick a clear path free of obstructions or boat traffic. Next, put your TRIXX into Sport mode, the more powerful engine setting that steepens the acceleration curve. The added low-end snap that Sport mode provides will come in handy when it’s time to get your craft’s back end to break free of the water’s grip. Last but not least, use the TRIXX’s variable electronic trim to pivot the steering nozzle above the neutral position. This will further loosen up the back end of the craft and make it easier to begin the maneuver.
When ready, accelerate up to about 25 mph in a standing position, feet spaced evenly and slightly back in the footwells. Give a brief nudge of the bars opposite the direction you plan to spin to loosen the hull’s grip on the water, then quickly flick the bars in the direction of your intended spin and apply a brief burst of throttle as you lean to the inside of the turn. The rear of the craft should come loose and quickly slide out the full 180 degrees.
Pause a moment to let the craft’s movement settle, then get back on the gas to accelerate straight back the direction you came, or if you want to add a little flair, crank the bars hard over to spin the craft around and complete a full 360.
With the TRIXX’s added nozzle range, extendable handlebars and rear footrests, many riders will find they can simply accelerate, pop up the bow, and leverage the craft right into a wheelie or tail stand. Smaller, lighter riders, however, may find they need a little help to counterbalance the craft in the upright position.
For these riders, the 180-degree spin is the perfect transition. Make sure the trim is pivoted fully upward and handlebars are raised to their full height. Then perform the 180-degree spin, but as the craft settles at the end of the spinout, let off the power and shift your weight toward the stern, allowing it to sink slightly. Reapply throttle to raise the bow into the air and lean back as the bow rises vertically. As the nose gets higher, step back onto the footrests to maintain control and increase the leverage you can produce. A careful feathering of the throttle will produce enough thrust to keep the craft from settling deeper into the water and maintain your upright water wheelie.
Ready to really show off? Once you’re comfortable holding a tail stand or wheelie, turn it into a full tailspin by simply turning the bars ever so slightly in one direction and shifting, or leaning, your body weight in unison. It’s a subtle shift. Too much weight in one direction and the craft will simply fall to that side. Play with the amount of lean as you pull against the handlebars, applying an increasing amount of throttle to keep the boat upright. To increase the speed of the spin, lean the craft further in the direction of the spin and you’ll find the TRIXX twirling fast enough that you can actually counter-steer while adding additional throttle to produce the fastest spin.
For those who want to make the move even more impressive, practice slowing and stopping the rotation, then spinning in the other direction. Should you get a little dizzy in the process, just remember: Falling off is half the fun with the SPARK TRIXX.