Ah yes, the Sea-Doo Spark…a jet ski that revolutionised the industry and brought affordability to those who otherwise couldn’t afford to spend $12k and above.
But for the uninitiated, you might come to realize that, despite all slick marketing videos, the Sea-Doo Spark just isn’t worth it. For most people, at least. 🙃
After all, for only a little extra, you can get yourself a GTI which comes with a whole host of extra features including more power and most importantly, less judgement at the boat ramp.
(Indeed, a real issue which you’ll experience if you decide to buy the Spark, though the Trixx does command some respect ’cause it’s pretty damn fun!)
So in this guide, I’ll show you 7 reasons why you wouldn’t want to buy a Spark and instead spend that little extra on the GTI. Because quite simply, the price difference isn’t that great after all.
Author’s note: I’m a Sea-Doo advocate with a genuine love for the brand, and in some cases, the Spark does have some value which I’ll cover later in the article.
Anyway, let’s begin!
Here are 7 reasons why the Sea-Doo Park isn’t worth it:
1. The Sea-Doo Spark is Slow
Yep, they’re slow. Not super slow but you can expect a Sea-Doo Park to reach a maximum of 42 MPH, or 67km. You’ll be even slower with a passenger and a full tank of fuel.
That said – some waterways are limited to 40-knots anyway or you may not need to go that fast. But if you’re looking for some speed, then you’ll get bored of this pretty quickly.
2. Difficult to Handle in Swell
The Sea-Doo Spark falls into the Recreational-Lite category which only became popular recently. These PWCs are made more cheaply and thus use lightweight components.
I like to joke that you can just about lift a Sea-Doo Spark off the trailer with another set of hands on the other side. This lightweight nature is akin to taking a canoe into the ocean. Sure…you can do it…but you may not be smiling after 20 minutes.
3. Underpowered For Tow-Sports
The Sea-Doo Spark is capable of tow sports including taking kids on tube, however it is very lacking in power with 2 passengers. Add in a child on a tube and there’s going to be quite a bit of strain on that little 1000cc engine which might see an expiry earlier than the typical 200 hours.
Keep in mind that in some districts, you can’t actually use a jet ski with 2 seats for tow-sports. You can only do tow sports with a 3 seat jet ski such as the 3UP. Why? Because 1 seat is for the driver, 1 is for the spotter and the 3rd seat is reserved for the individual on the wakeboard or tube. Thus, some people have to write-off the 2UP Spark as a choice for tow sports.
4. Difficult For Swimming & Snorkeling
In addition to cruising the waterways, doing some fishing and even trying some mild jumps, you might want to use your jet ski for swimming and snorkeling. For instance, it’s very popular here in Queensland to ride to Tangalooma and explore the wrecks with a jet ski.
The problem is…the Sea-Doo Spark not only has a super tiny swim deck, but getting on and off the ski can cause it to capsize if you’re a heavier person like me. So something to be really mindful of and a key reason why dealers steer customers in the direction of the GTI or even the GTR.
5. Very Limited Upgrades
There are several Sea-Doo Spark upgrades but most enthusiasts say “What’s the point? It’s a Spark!” but hey, at least Sea-Doo is trying. I guess people buy the Ski and quickly realize that it isn’t as powerful as they hoped, so they look to upgrade it or sell it soon after with low hours. If there is one upgrade I can recommend, it’s a reboarding ladder which will make your life infinitely easier and reduce the risk of capsizing!
6. Feels Like A Toy Jet Ski
Yep, I’m gonna say it and I’m going to get blasted for it too! It does feel like a toy but it is to be expected at this price-point. Sea-Doo literally can’t afford to put a nice hull and a powerful and responsive engine between your legs when you aren’t paying top dollar. The feeling of having a toy on the water just doesn’t fill me with confidence especially in the windy seasons or high tidal variations.
7. Attracts Many Critics
When you rock up to the boat ramp and you see numerous other jet ski owners launching or retriving, you’ll probalby want to have a friendly chat. Unless they also own Sparks, that might not go down so well. Mocking Spark owners has become quite popular actually, and sadly, to the detriment of the Sea-Doo brand. Keep that in mind as you’ll need to be a little thick-skinned and avoid the judgement of others for your choice of PWC.
Who Would Buy a Sea-Doo Spark?
Right – enough hate. There are still merits in the Spark hence why it’s one of the most popular jet skis around town.
People who buy these jet skis generally:
- Want to introduce their children and teenagers to the sport with an easy to handle ski in calm lakes and river systems.
- Have a dual jet ski trailer and understand the performance-orientated jet skis have an excessive beam to go side by side.
- Aren’t looking to use their jet ski often, perhaps only every month or so and care little about performance or the judgement of others.
- FInally – are looking for the most affordable jet ski for fishing. The Spark wins easily here, though it’s better suited for calm waterways of course.
If that sounds like you, then you’ve found the perfect PWC for you. Otherwise, spend the extra dollars for the GTI.
Before the haters arrive, let me make one thing certain – the Spark is still a great ski. It fills a gap in the market and addresses people who just want to get out there. If price is a problem for you and you’ve been waiting years, then wait no longer!
It’s light, fun and nimble especially for the smaller riders or those that just want to cruise along. It has its loyal fans yet a greater amount of critics too. If you can handle the critics, then get yourself a Spark.
Otherwise, for just a little more moolah than the 3UP, the GTI is well worth it and simply the best value ski around. In my opinion, it can do just about anything you want out there.
Speaking of which, I can’t wait to see you out there on the waterways!