IJSBA is releasing the Managing Director’s recommendations to the IJSBA Board of Directors as to the responses to the public submitted suggestions to change the IJSBA Competition Rules.  Later than planned but now incorporating a lot more input that was received after the closing of the comment period (let us at least pretend we will do it timely next year).  These are recommendations to the IJSBA Board of Directors for consideration and voting from, mostly, suggestions sent in by the public.  THIS IS NOT A LIST OF CHANGES.  Please see background, discussion points, and recommendations below.  For questions or (more) comments on these changes, please email info@ijsba.com.



Annually, IJSBA considers updates and changes to the Competition Rules as well as modifications to policy and procedures which affect how IJSBA sanctioned competitions are conducted.  It is IJSBA’s intention to try to limit significant changes to a frequency of two years or more in order to instill a sense of predictability to rule evolution and create security that if a competitor changes his or her watercraft that the money and effort will be a safe investment.  Furthermore, IJSBA makes best efforts to give a notice of one year’s time before any allowance or provision is removed from the Competition Rules.  Therefore any significant rule change should, generally, have an expectation that the provision should remain for a period of at least three years once implemented.

The 2020 COVID 19 pandemic caused a pause in aggressive changes to IJSBA’ Competition Rules and curriculum. Additionally, the early 2020 onset of the pandemic happened before 2020 rule changes were fully implemented and some IJSBA Sanctioned entities kept with the 2019 rules in 2020 and 2021 due to racing going on lockdown which had numerous competitors on different timelines for updating their watercraft. This provided for a situation where updating of their watercraft was done in 2022 and now potential major updates happening again in 2023.  These are circumstances to which we want to be mindful while deliberating in times of increased inflationary costs and supply chain challenges that still exist.

IJSBA invented the sport of Personal Watercraft Racing in the mid 1970s when the first mass produced PWC was introduced.  In 1982, the popularity of PWC Racing brought forth the very first World Championship which was held, as it is to this day, in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  Ten years later, IJSBA evolved into a racing organization which sanctioned racing for multiple brands of PWC.  IJSBA’s competition rules built upon the popularity of the now fad-like watercraft with IJSBA Racing as a very popular global sport.  The beginning of the 21st century saw challenges for this type of racing as environmental regulations slowed unit sales and the development of the internet deprived most motorsport sanctioning bodies of some of their primary revenues (i.e. publications, dvd sales, etc.) needed to meet the high funding threshold necessary to sustain the sport as we knew it.  Without being able to hand out large rewards, fewer people were willing to make the financial investments required to compete.  The increasing age demographic of the average PWC buyer also added complications to the direction of the sport.

However, IJSBA’s popularity was sustainable with conservative approaches to keeping the racing in line with the profile of the OEM product.  Today, IJSBA racing stands on its own with the business of competition management keeping the sport going and producing the world’s only true World Championship which is the largest PWC event in the world.  The categories with the most participation are those which are most closely related to the OEM product (Stock, Lites, etc.) and this is true for both Runabout and Ski divisions.  This is the success of the global PWC sport: the ability to have a top level competition using the products that you enjoyed recreationally.  Our masses come from families and individuals who purchased a PWC for fun and, later, decided to take their passion for the product to the next level.  These our are roots and, with the explosion of PWC sales over the last couple of years, it is a good time to strengthen our roots to support a future.  This is the philosophy behind the direction taken for these recommendations.


Managing Director’s Recommendations


General Competition

Discussion:  We received some interesting comments across these subjects.  On the topic of the Competition Membership expiration dates, it seemed some of you believed it would make recordkeeping easier here at the office.  It would not.  Others thought that a December 31 expiration date would imply a pro-rata fee scale depending on the month purchased.  No such scaled competition cost was implied and this would be extraordinarily difficult to track.  It would also not make sense to print and ship membership cards in October when they would be invalid shortly after.  From an organizational perspective, whatever value could be gleaned from this change was met with too many obstacles.  Since we are now armed with working card printers and have just spent several hundred dollars in postage, envelopes, and the like to get caught up from the past fall, it seems sensible to return to former membership practice and take this back up in the future if there is a need.

Similarly, to expirations, IJSBA received a wide varying amount of responses to requiring all persons under 16 to compete only in Junior categories.  What seems to be the synthesis of these opinions, to the degree one could be made, is that a merit system is wanted before letting young racers compete in mainstream classes.  It sure seems that a lot of people’s ego cannot handle getting whooped by early teenagers but the motive behind the suggestion may not detract the value of the suggestion.  Not every racing zone has a Body Beach for year round practice of all ages. But, what really is needed is a complete revamp of the Junior program with less arbitrary age categories and implementing some sort of a merit evaluation rather than just age.  This needs to be developed and well vetted before making a change.

Juniors weren’t the only age category where IJSBA received considerable feedback.  An initial suggestion was to return the Veterans Ski age cutoff back to 30 from 35.  There was very little support for this change. In fact, most comments suggested increasing the Veterans Ski age to 40, Masters to 50, and keeping Grand Master at  55.  If this is done, it should be done as an incremental change where persons eligible to compete now should be allowed to continue in the same respective age category that was enjoyed or expected at the time of the change.


Shall IJSBA Competition Memberships expire on December 31 of each year regardless of when purchased?

Recommended Vote: NO


Shall IJSBA require all competitors under the age of 16 to exclusively ride Junior Classes and prohibit competitors under the age of 16 from any other classes?

Recommended Vote: NO


Shall IJSBA reduce the minimum age for Veterans Ski to 30?

Recommended Vote: NO.  Recommended Alternative: Increase to 40 in 2024.


Mandated Safety Equipment

Discussion:  This community has obviously encountered a very emotional year where a reminder of the inherent danger of the sport has been delivered to us in a few tragic examples.  To be sure, the sport of PWC Racing is very dangerous.  The reality of this is not always presented consistently; this sport encounters some years where we have no major accidents or casualties then, in other years, we are not so fortunate.  It is foolish not to keep a sharp eye on the correlation between the increasing speeds and tragic incidents.  Further, it doesn’t take a PhD statistician to see that 2022 showed a higher sample of persons competing in frequency than in previous years, especially considering the dormancy of 2020 and 2021.

Comments received were definitely not consistent.  There are a lot of you who are against mandating anything more than we do already.  There are a lot of you who want things mandated but with caveats (i.e. mandate wetsuits but not in hot weather).  There is also a difference of opinion between what to mandate for regional Closed Course than is done for an Endurance race or higher profile event like World Finals.  This was supported by a sizable contingent of comments that mandatory gear like boots and wetsuits increases the cost to participate.  While, this may be true, the thought of spending $10,000 on a PWC and $300 on entry fees and then skipping costs on protective equipment may be rather dubious.  However, you are entitled to your opinions and the person who is charged with writing these recommendations is grateful you have shared them.  We all agree we want people to have the most access to PPE and  most of us seem to share the same outlook that where we do mandate anything, we do not want to take the focus away that none of this equipment will insulate you from the inherent dangers in highspeed competition on the water.  Nobody benefits from having a false sense of security.  The following are the recommendations on this subject.


Shall IJSBA require the use of wetsuits at all times?

Recommended Vote:  NO.   


Shall IJSBA require the use of closed toe foot protection at all times?

Recommended Vote:  YES.  Note, we received notes from a couple of Ski riders, especially vintage, who want to stay barefoot. While the recommendation will be to require foot protection, a caveat shall be included that organizers may make this requirement optional where there is a shoreline of texture where foot injuries are unlikely.


Shall IJSBA require the use of eye protection at all times?

Recommended Vote:  YES.  Competitors must start an event (heat/lcq/etc.) with eye protection in place.


Shall IJSBA require the use of gloves at all times?

Recommended Vote:  NO.  Competitors should start an event (heat/lcq/etc.) with gloves being used but some competitors may prefer direct sense of feel on their hands in their control of their watercraft.


Shall IJSBA require a fluorescent coating on helmets?

Recommendation:  Modify this to have the rules read that it is highly advisable for a reflective or fluorescent material, fixed or removable, to be placed on a competitor’s helmet to make the rider more visible when ejected from watercraft.  However, organizers are free to mandate this at their events by posting on their website and/or social media a clear statement that this material is required.  Organizers should stock a sufficient amount of acceptable reflective/fluorescent material for competitors to affix to their helmets to meet the mandate.


Shall IJSBA increase required minimum floatation standards on live vests?

Recommended Vote:  NO.  IJSBA should increase the recommended flotation and continue to allow for the same USCG certification level that is currently in place as this matches the standard of most personal flotation devices sold in the USA and abroad.  However, this should only remain in place for closed course events and may not apply to events which have National or World Championship levels where higher profile titles means more aggressive competition.


Shall IJSBA increase required minimum protection ratings of helmets used by competitors?

Recommended Vote:  NO.  IJSBA should spend more time ensuring that correct current standards are actually being observed and reevaluate this rule.


Shall IJSBA require additional “ballistic” protection for Endurance Racing?

Recommended Vote:  YES.  Standards to be developed.


Shall IJSBA require additional “ballistic” protection for Drag Racing?

Recommended Vote:  YES.  Standards to be developed. 


Ski Lites

Discussion: Ski Lites was created as a means of preserving a category of racing where the watercraft being used had a very strong relation to the product purchased on a showroom floor.  Allowances were made for the average performance products purchased by recreational users and those improvements that were likely to be made by customers who would have an interest in competition.  Ski Lites has been the largest class since its inception.  After evolving allowances for piston replacement, eventually allowing the maximum displacement that could be achieved with OEM parts, IJSBA has made little to no changes to this class.  IJSBA believes this stability and consistency is what continues to support the success of the class.  The vast majority of comments received on changes to Ski Lites requested no changes.

Over the last few years, the Yamaha SuperJet became the dominant product used in Ski Lites despite being 80cc deficient from the Kawasaki SX-R.  The likelihood for this is that the SX-R ended production in 2011 while the Yamaha SuperJet was produced through 2020 meaning that any competitors joining after their purchase of a new Ski meant they were certain to be on a SuperJet.  Making an SX-R competitive may simply mean the right person using a well configured unit.  None-the-less, there appears to be support for boring the OEM nozzle on an SX-R.  If this is found to create an imbalance then it can be corrected.  There was also support for allowing the arm of the nozzle to be bent to create a pitch other than aftermarket.  This is to correct nozzles to pitches of hard to find older nozzles which some competitors may not be able to source.  The majority of comments received do not want to see pipes added to Ski Lites nor do the comments reflect any palpable interest in removing the 760 cylinder allowance to the SuperJets.  Based on this, the following will be the recommendation to the rule suggestions as they pertain to Ski Lites:


Shall IJSBA allow modifications to the OEM SuperJet nozzle to allow for adjusting the angle in Ski Lites?

Recommended Vote:  YES


Shall IJSBA allow nozzle boring for Kawasaki 800 watercraft in Ski Lites?

Recommended Vote:  YES


Shall IJSBA remove the 760 Cylinder Allowance for Superjets in Ski Lites?

Recommended Vote:  NO


Shall IJSBA allow dry type aftermarket exhaust pipes in Ski Lites?

Recommended Vote:  NO


Shall IJSBA require the use of the OEM impeller in Ski Lites Classes?

Recommended Vote:  NO


Shall IJSBA specifically prohibit backdating to 650 Superjet pars on a 701 based Superjet in Ski Lites?

Recommended Vote:  NO




GP SKI Rules And Evolution

Discussion:  This subject certainly was the most polarizing and time consuming over the last several months.  The last seven days leading up to this posting brought more opinions and comments than we had hoped to receive in the 11th hour.    Rather than spend too much time on all of that, let us get straight to it (this section has already been rewritten about seven or eight times):

The most discernible message we received is the following:  nobody wants any surprises in the future!  The public is asking for a clear set of rules and guides of what can and cannot be built in an aftermarket hull/upper deck configuration.  Indeed, this is a serious problem. Competitors need to know what they can bring to an event.  In as much organizers need clear direction on how to evaluate the watercraft that show up for inspection so there is consistency between events.  Most of all, the key protection afforded to organizers is the contractual agreement with the participants that competitors are assuming the risk of competition.  To properly assume the risk of competition, participants must be aware of what risks they are accepting or the document signed at registration is of less value.  Additionally, insurance provisions require that any hull or craft allowed to participate is clearly provided for in the rules.  To meet these needs, IJSBA will not allow any surprise hull design that is not pre approved in writing and that is final.  Participants in categories where aftermarket hulls are allowed should be afforded the same degree of predictable conditions that exist where only OEM watercraft are allowed.


What IJSBA can do, at this time, is work with everyone that has a stake in this sport and create the best compromise and common ground consistent with the goals of IJSBA to build well attended competitions based on consumer recreational products.  These goals can be reached together with out aftermarket partners in the community to serve two tiers: OEM based and aftermarket based.  To this end, we have heard your message to pave a path towards a future based, primarily, on the same OEM product foundation leading up to a opportunities for aftermarket inclusion that intensifies at a pinnacle.  What you, the community, have told us is that there should be sensible speeds and tempered extravagance which culminates in a very narrow pinnacle where the extreme and the exotic can showcase the utmost possibilities of innovation and performance. 

This path means creating a division allowing sensible aftermarket hulls, that are attainable by the masses, and equally sensible performance allowances which keep top speeds in the mid 60 MPH range.  This is similar to the rise of the Ski Limited classes that once dominated IJSBA’s competition population.  However, this time, the focus will be on what the hulls can do with the OEM engine as opposed to the previous focus of the OEM hulls and aftermarket engine performance increases.  You are telling us that cost controls and speed controls are the primary factors obstacles in your path to move out of Stock based classes.  The recommendations below are intended to strongly agree with this feedback received from the public.  This leads to a two tiered approach.

The first tier is the controlled tier and would be the highest modification level afforded to most Ski class divisions that are not Stock based.  The second tier is the current GP Ski which, after a rollout of the firs tiered class, would be restricted to Pro Ski GP and, perhaps, a Pro Am Veterans Ski GP (something to allow seasoned older Pro level riders have an opportunity to compete on a level playing field (and if IJSBA does not increase the Veterans age we might offer this as a Masters class as well).  Most competitors will never race Pro and, as such, should not expect to use Pro level performance watercraft and compete against expiramental/conceptual watercraft that is not readily available to the market.  This two tiered system also is consistent with many voices at the Aftermarket Hull Manufacturers’ Meeting, at the 2022 World Finals where some builders were amicable to pre-approved hull designs but only wanted to build for their team/rider.  The two tiered system preserves these needs and allows for some additional degree of exotic concepts to be brought to Pro level racing so long as the products are pre-approved.


Shall IJSBA create a Ski Competition division with aftermarket hulls but Stock Class engine allowances for 1500cc engines?  Shall IJSBA evolve this class to be the dominant aftermarket hull based class for Ski division (Veterans, Masters, etc.) and streamline GP into one single experimental class?

Recommended Vote: YES.  Create a two year roll out with 2023 having a middle ground for Amateur/Expert/Veteran Classes and Pro classes being allowed more exotic designs than are provided for now.  2024 would be a complete roll out of the two tiered rule change.  If approved a hull and top deck guide would be made immediately and hull manufacturers could begin submitting designs to IJSBA by March 1, 2023 with provisional approval given within 10 days of submission.


Shall IJSBA specifically restrict or prohibit appendages on the upper deck of Ski Watercraft whether in aftermarket or OEM form?

Recommended Vote:  YES to restriction and NO to prohibition.  If the two tiered plan is approved then the guide will give clear direction for how appendages can be integrated into design.



Shall IJSBA allow spray deflectors above the bond line?


Recommended Vote:  YES.  If the two tiered plan is approved then the guide will give clear direction for how upper deck splashguards can be integrated into design.


Shall IJSBA allow for spray deflectors to be rigid?

Recommended Vote:  YES with durability standards required to prevent fracturing or splintering.



Shall IJSBA implement a maximum weight for watercraft competing in GP Ski?

Recommended Vote: No.  Insufficient support was received for this suggestion to be endorsed.


Shall IJSBA allow unlimited sets of sponsons on Ski GP Watercraft?

Recommended Vote:  NO. 


Shall IJSBA allow unrestricted hull designs in Ski GP classes?

Recommended Vote:  NO. 


Shall IJSBA increase the Ski GP displacement allowance to 1600cc ?

Recommended Vote:  NO.  Insufficient support was received to endorse this suggestion.  Further, the limit number is ambiguous.  No OEM manufacturer produces a 1600cc Ski PWC.  Therefore, there is no reason to believe this number will not incrementally increase.


Shall IJSBA increase boost limits for categories where turbochargers are allowed?


Recommended Vote:  NO.  However, once a two tiered system is in place, consideration may, then, be given for increasing boost limits with other controls in place.




Closed Course/Endurance Racing/Freestyle:


Shall IJSBA increase sponson allowance size for 1500cc SXR watercraft?  If so, to what size?

Recommended Vote: YES



Shall IJSBA limit RPM in Runabout Stock to 8700 RPM?

Recommended Vote: NO


Shall IJSBA allow a second set of sponsons for the Four Stroke 2021MY+ based Superjet?

Recommended Vote: YES, Implement in 2024 after further proliferation of units.


Shall IJSBA allow a fuel surge system to be installed for Runabout Superstock, Open, Modified, and GP Classes as well as in any Endurance category.

Recommended Vote: Undetermined.  IJSBA should further investigate the impact of this allowance.


Shall IJSBA allow Sea-Doo  X4 type hulls to use aftermarket hulls in any category where these type of watercraft are eligible to compete?

Recommended Vote: NO.  A yes vote would make Limited Class mostly irrelevant.


Shall IJSBA allow Sea-Doo  X4 type hulls to use aftermarket hoods in any category where these type of watercraft are eligible to compete?

Recommended Vote: YES.  Weight savings is negligible in comparison to the difficulty


Recommended Vote: No. IJSBA rules vest the administration the right to make such allowances as supply chain substitutions.  With this in mind, IJSBA should explore making this an allowance if no such OEM throttle bodies are sufficiently available and determine restrictions if necessary if an allowance is made.


Shall IJSBA remove boost limits for categories where turbochargers are allowed?


Recommended Vote: NO




Recommended Vote: YES




Shall IJSBA allow durability upgrades to Sea-Doo parts such as welding the supercharger shaft in Runabout Stock Class?


Recommended Vote: YES




Shall IJSBA all aftermarket fuel pressure regulators in Runabout Stock Class for Sea-Doo products?


Recommended Vote: Undetermined.  IJSBA should further investigate the impact of this allowance.



Shall IJSBA specifically allow driveline couplers and dampeners in Runabout Stock Class?


Recommended Vote: Yes.  Aftermarket couplers and dampeners may be necessary for durability with contemporary performance demands.



Shall IJSBA specifically allow for fuel test sensor mounts to remain on watercraft, during racing, so long as the sensor is removed?


Recommended Vote: YES



Shall IJSBA allow “free flow” exhaust kits or similar products in Runabout Stock Class?


Recommended Vote: No.  Insufficient support was received to consider this suggestion.



Shall IJSBA clarify Rule RAS.4.1  to make clear that the ribbon delete is allowed regardless of what claims the part manufacturer makes about the qualities of the product (in other words, if a product manufacturer claims performance gains on a product that is otherwise allowed in the rules but the claim of performance gain conflicts with the rules, should the part be prohibited)?


Recommended Vote: YES.  It looks loke we need to make same sort of mention because this is causing confusion. If IJSBA allows the modification or allowance to a PWC in a category then that part is allowed regardless if the manufacturer of the part makes claims of features beyond the reason IJSBA has stated.  This appears to be a major contention when the advertisement for a part claims things like “improved airflow” and “improved performance.”  These are subjective terms the same way that it is subjective to say a certain replacement part isn’t performance enhancing.  Any part that replaces a part that fails under the stress of racing is performance enhancing even if the replaced part isn’t the part that provides the additional performance.  We do not base rules off of the claims of advertisers.  We base them off decisions IJSBA believes to be best for the category.



Shall IJSBA allow larger aftermarket top decks in Sport GP categories?


Recommended Vote: NO.  Insufficient support was received to consider this suggestion.



Shall IJSBA abandon a 900cc/1200cc division between Amateur Freestyle and Pro Freestyle by having a 1200cc displacement only?


Recommended Vote: YES for year 2024.  IJSBA will make the distinction between modifications and allowances between Amateur and Pro categories but will move to have only one displacement designation.





World Finals Specific:


Shall IJSBA use alternative designs in the course to provide for a gradual first turn after the checkered flag/merge area?

Recommended Vote: No Decision.  IJSBA will present World Finals track designs throughout the year for peer review.


Shall IJSBA change Vintage X2 Rules to mirror Modified Rules?                       

Recommended Vote:  Yes consistent with comments received to more formally allow hull modifications.


Shall IJSBA move from lap format to time format for heats/LCQ/Main Events?

Recommended Vote: No Decision.  IJSBA will receive further comment on this throughout the season.



Shall IJSBA bring back the bikini contest? 

Recommended Vote: NO.  We apologize to the local stores which were stocking up on extra peroxide and neon zebra print bikinis.  We also apologize to all IJSBA community members under the age of 45 who don’t understand this reference and find no humor in it.