The personal watercraft (PWC) industry has been dominated by two primary groups for quite some time: stand-up and sit-down riders. While there is no clear winner between the two, each side has its own reasons for why they prefer their particular style. To fully understand the issue, we need to look back at the history of the PWC.
Initially, personal watercraft meant stand-up Jet Skis, which were produced by Kawasaki. However, the industry changed when Yamaha introduced the Wave Jammer and Wave Runner, which started the sit-down revolution. While Yamaha also produced a stand-up model, other companies entering the market ignored the ski segment and concentrated solely on runabouts.
The stand-up enthusiasts believe that skis are the only true form of the sport and that runabouts are a passing fad. They see Yamaha stand-ups as unproven newcomers and insist on the tried-and-true Kawasakis. Stand-up riders often look down on runabout riders, citing the increased difficulty of ski riding as a "rite of passage" into the inner world of personal watercraft.
On the other hand, runabout riders' feelings are not as strong. They are often new to the sport of PWC and so enamored with it that they don't pay much attention to the shrinking ski segment. Runabout riders can legally and comfortably take a friend or two on their craft, pull a waterskier if the mood strikes, and ride for longer periods of time without refueling or stopping to rest tired legs.
While there is no easy answer as to which form of personal watercraft is better, personal opinion reigns supreme. Regardless of which side you are on, it's important to remember that both forms of personal watercraft are a legitimate form of recreation. Ultimately, it's up to the individual rider to decide which form they prefer.
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