Up to 1991, watercraft were general purpose ‘get around on the water’ vehicles. Riders would ride around in a relatively defined area and in some case this led to riding around a “bouy-course” which leads to going around the buoy-course faster than the other guy and this led to looking for more performance. If they wanted a little more performance they had to look to the aftermarket as production models were very, well, ‘vanilla’ performance wise yet there was a wealth of aftermarket products available to up the performance or give that customized look. Performance out of the box had not been a consideration, until 1991.
The 1991 Sea-Doo XP changed the game. This model changed the perceptions of what was possible straight from the ‘factory’ when Bombardier launched the XP with the first production twin carb (carburetors) system, tuned exhaust pipe, and screaming neon graphics. The XP (extra performance) was the new ‘must have’ vehicle for performance enthusiasts and quickly become the watercraft of choice for the fledgling runabout (sit-down models) closed course racing.
The 1991 Sea-Doo XP was the first high-performance specific production model and gave birth to the term, “Musclecraft”.
1990 marked a monumental year in the personal watercraft industry. Bombardier would invent a new segment in the fledgling industry with the introduction of the Sea-Doo GT (grand touring), the first ever three seater-watercraft. The GT wasn’t alone as the 1990 Sea-Doo watercraft line included three new models and added in a touch of color. The Sea-Do0 SP was introduced as the base model and the SPi was a step up (the “i” stood for stainless steal impeller, that was a substantial performance gain over the standard aluminum cast impeller) and of course the GT model.
The Sea-Doo GT received its share of criticism as industry insiders argued if people really wanted to ride three-up on a watercraft. What the GT did offer was a legal platform to pull skiers with that opened an entirely new usage of watercraft with room for a driver, observer and skier. The longer platform with a, relativly, oversized storage bin in the bow made ‘touring’ a reality on watercraft. The 1990 Sea-Doo GT also included reverse, substantially assisting in docking situations. Little did anyone predict that eventually three-seaters would eventually make up roughly 90% of the market. The 1990 Sea-Doo GT was a monumental watercraft in the history of the industry.