Greetings to the Personal Watercraft Racing Community.  The winter season is in full swing with many holidays bringing family and friends together where the 2017 race season and plans the upcoming 2018 season will be discussed.  One of the main reasons to recognize the Winter Soltstice, as we always do, is that tomorrow starts the march back towards another summer- the season in which Personal Watercraft thrive.  The day furthest away from the peak of summer is known as the shortest day of the year.  It is fitting, then, that the day passes quickly so we can get to another great year of racing.  This update centers largely around the rule change suggestion period for the 2018 Competition Rule Book.  A long end of the year update will follow next week. Please share this news with your friends and colleagues in the sport.


New Rule Suggestions

Note: A comprehensive set of tentative rule changes for Freestyle will be published tomorrow for public discussion.  

IJSBA has received only three straightforward rule change suggestions for 2018:

  1.  Allow a second set of sponsons in Sport Spec
  2. Allow aftermarket valve retainers in Runabout Stock
  3. Allow a quick trim system in Runabout Rec Lites

Additionally, there has been a notable amount of requests to consider internal supercharger parts eligible for aftermarket replacement in Runabout Stock under IJSBA's provision to permit such replacements when there are known failure rates of specific parts.

The rest of the comments, submitted to IJSBA at meetings and in emails, are policy changes such as reorganizing class structures.  However, there is a single policy matter that is dominating all discussion: whether to remove or regulate the allowance for forced induction in SKI GP/SKI MOD categories.

At World Finals, one can hardly deny the evidence that even regulated GP watercraft, affixed with a turbocharger, produced speeds far superior to the traditional two stroke triple cylinder.   The fact that a forced induction Ski did not win the overall title does not take away from the fact that the speeds between the two types of powerplants were noticeably different.  The Kings Cup event also showcased potential performance, in forced induction Ski Watercraft, that overshadowed the best performing naturally aspirated units.

The speeds we are witnessing from forced induction Ski are just the beginning.  The Personal Watercraft Racing community is comprised of many talented engineers who will continue to increase the performance of this new technology and make the increased performance more reliable.  At the outset, we clearly see that forced induction, at the current levels of performance, are already incompatible with the base of Ski watercraft built with triple cylinder two stroke engine.  There are three courses of action:  do nothing and allow a transition to the new platforms of forced induction four stroke technology, heavily regulate the forced induction four stroke engines when they are used in Ski watercraft, or remove the forced induction four strokes from this class.

At this point, we have a short list of points to cover but at least two of these subjects are certain to be very contentious.  So please keep in mind that it is the holiday season and, when sending your emails that state whichever way you lean on these matters, that professional discourse is always the best way to communicate even where a person feels very passionate about a particular position.  The rest of this update contains plans in progress and notes for future plans.


Mod Lites

  Mod Lites is, largely, a replacement class for Ski Limited.  The purpose of this class is to have a middle category between the Ski Lites class and Ski Modified/GP.  IJSBA has held several rules meetings and has received a significant amount or input on how to achieve IJSBA's major goals for this class:  To allow competitors to build Ski watercraft with easy to acquire parts from OEM and aftermarket industries; to control costs in the class while allowing a diverse amount of options; to uniform the available aftermarket hulls by requiring homologation; and, to keep potential speeds within a range that are usable and consistent from Junior to Master and Novice to Expert.  Below is the tentative menu of modifications  for Mod Lites.  IJSBA plans to have Mod Lites as a category for Juniors, Amateurs, and Experts at the 2018 World Finals.

  • Hulls may be aftermarket.  Aftermarket hulls may be selected from IJSBA registered producers who commit to making minimum amounts of identical hulls and top deck combinations that adhere to mandatory weight, dimension, and style specifications.  Hulls will need to be numbered and reported to IJSBA for IJSBA to ensure compliance with the stated criteria and for event organizers to ensure riders utilizing legal hulls with the ability to track hulls that fall out of compliance. 
  •  Two Stroke Engine Option: Two stroke engines must be two cylinder and may be built to Limited Class specification.  There may be limitations on which exhaust pipes may be use and the size of carburetors.  Engine displacement shall not exceed 800cc.
  • For Stroke Engine Option:  Four stroke engines must be naturally aspirated and may be built to Limited Class specifications.  An OEM ECU must be used.  Exhaust systems must be approved by IJSBA.  Air intake systems must be approved by IJSBA.
  • Pumps may be aftermarket subject to approval from IJSBA within size standards.


Future Of Runabout Categories


IJSBA is hearing your comments loud and clear.  Runabout categories need to be scaled back in terms of speeds and costs.  Everyone agrees there should still be a single top modification class but, by a large margin, we are receiving a large amount of requests to produce categories that are based off of OEM units and that the categories gradually step up in the allowable modifications and the resulting performance gains.

  • Runabout Stock.  No Changes from current Stock Class.  Possible restrictor plate requirement.  Target speed:  70 MPH.
  • Runabout Limited.  Stock Runabout rules with the following additional allowances: aftermarket valve retainers, aftermarket camshaft, aftermarket supercharger impeller, aftermarket jet pump.  No other changes allowed.  Possible restrictor plate requirement.  Target speed: 75 MPH.
  • Runabout Superstock.  Limited Runabout rules with the following additional allowances:  aftermarket hood, aftermarket seat, aftermarket ECU, aftermarket water box.  No other changes allowed. Note: engines may not be ported.  Possible restrictor plate requirement.  Target speed: 80 MPH.
  • Runabout GP.  No changes from current GP class.

The above allows those persons who have invested in exotic high speed runabout technology to continue utilizing their watercraft in a single, elite, GP class.  At the same time,  the remaining class structure should provide an easier and more affordable set of options for competing.  This class structure should also contain performance within a range more competitors can manage.  

We realize the subject of restrictor plates is new to Personal Watercraft Racing.  IJSBA's first use of a restrictor plate happened this past World Finals and they were shown to be effective- racing stayed competitive and most of the riders stayed on the same lap throughout each heat.  Tuners have pushed runabout speeds upward, and considerably so, over the past few years.  Speeds cannot rise indefinitely without making major changes to the sport.  IJSBA believes that if we do not regulate speeds now we will find the speeds regulated for us by outside parties.  We are anxious to be aggressive in reaching a conclusion on this subject with the community.

This concludes this Winter Solstice update.  Please email questions and comments to