With the weather getting better every day, all of our collective thoughts have shifted away from the bitterness of winter and on to more exciting and relaxing times. No more snow shoveling, no more bundling up, no more holiday stress and anxiety. Nope, now it’s on to surf, sunshine, and silly fun. With summer right around the corner, now is a great time to start checking some items off of that bucket list too — like maybe finally buying yourself or your family that jet ski you’ve been talking about for the last decade or so, and we have found just the thing: allow us to introduce the Sea-Doo Spark.
Sea-Doo set out to jump start the PWC or Personal Watercraft industry in 2017 by proving it could in fact, produce a versatile, fun, and most importantly inexpensive PWC that still had all the bells and whistles of a typical jet ski, without that nasty price tag. And so, the Spark was born, and that is exactly what it did to the entire segment.
Starting with a very unconventional hull design, they were off to the races. Instead of the usual heavy fiberglass or compound material, SD decided to go with a PolyTec produced polypropylene that has been reinforced with long-strand glass fibers, essentially this is just a composite material that is both lighter and stronger than your run-of-the-mill PWC. Taking the weight savings, a bit farther, SD created the ExoSkel, essentially a wishbone-shaped column that supports the handlebars which sit nicely over the open bow. The PolyTec composite material doesn’t create some other interesting characteristics for the Spark, one being that its parts can’t be bonded usually normal adhesive, so instead the deck and hull are held together with a rubber gasket and some old-fashioned bolts. PolyTec also can’t be painted, so the colors have to be present at creation. The current color lineup reads more like a Jamba Juice menu than a PWC color spectrum: Key Lime, Vanilla, Pineapple Chili Pepper or Blueberry are your choices. Add a shot of wheat grass for another $5. Okay, we made that last part up.
One very nice thing about composite is the aforementioned weight loss, and with less weight, guess what? Just like basic hot rodding has taught us, less mass means it takes less power to go fast. The Spark comes with a four-cylinder 900cc motor with your choice of power. The low-end option is the Rotax 900 ACE engine, which comes in at 60 horsepower, which will deliver about a 40-mph top end. Not bad, especially for such a low engine output. But opt for the 90 horsepower ACE HO and you’ll feel the boost from down low in the RPM range all the way up when you finally top out close to 50 mph. The other nice thing about a lighter PWC is that you don’t need a Tundra, Expedition, or Tahoe to get it to the beach. Just about anything bigger than a SmartCar with a tow hitch should do the trick just fine.
The composite-based hull will no doubt a source of controversy, but SD has tried very hard to make it clear they believe this PWC should withstand a beating by displaying the Spark being pummeled by baseballs from a pitching machine, and there is more than one video of the hull being used essentially as a cutting board for a knife-wielding chef, who eventually cranks up the volume to full sociopath and uses an axe in place of his knives, this to make a point about the scratch resistance of the hull presumably.
The Spark has a fuel capacity of 18.5 gallons, i’s has a stowage capacity of 7.9 gallons, and can seat 2 or 3 people depending on layout. But the biggest draw isn’t necessarily the fuel economy or the ability to make chop suey on an upsides down Spark. Nope, it’s the unconscionably affordable base price of only $5,299. That plus the benefit of not having to upgrade your transport vehicle, further underlines the we-can-really-get-one idea here. Obviously, the optional engine and a myriad of other little features can drive that price up a bit (topping out around $7,500), the idea that you can finally have that long awaited joy out on the water without breaking the bank is just wonderful. It’s seems that Sea-Doo really did create the Spark to stoke the fire of PWC passion and burn away all those awful memories of the winter months — good riddance.