WORDS: DOMINIC WISEMAN
You won’t be feeling blue after carving up a few swells on this big, bold beast.
Grey skies and the strong chance of a storm on Sydney’s northern beaches greeted the team for our first test of this Cosmo Blue-coloured SeaDoo GTX Limited.
The boys were gutted by the weather the gods had dished up and winter’s chill was surely evident as we stood on the ramp in our full-length steamers, booties and beanies.
But our demeanour improved when we saw the craft we were about to test and a SeaDoo RXP (on loan from the guys at BRP) gently dropped into the water. “Hey fellas, it’s pretty big out there,” said the old surfer who was in the middle of retrieving his ageing tinnie at the ramp.
“Big… Sick, Let’s go!” That was the immediate response from Tony who was coming along for the ride and is always keen to have a rap in anything that floats.
The fact that he owns a Connelly with a 250hp on the back may give you an idea to his preferred driving style!
We happened to luck onto a big winter southerly swell and on this morning the winds were down and 3m swells were bashing the coast. We had a team of four charging across to Box Head on two borrowed skis and truth be told, as the bloke in charge, there was some trepidation and concern for the safety of the riders and the skis.
The SeaDoo GTX Limited is the most comprehensively packaged personal water craft (PWC) in the Seadoo range. Blue in colour, it’s a three seater and comes complete with a fully functional Garmin GPS unit fitted neatly on top of the glove box (although not provided on our test). Designed and built by the Canadian company Bombardier, the GTX is a high end PWC created for the family conscious owner. If I was looking for a fun watercraft capable of carrying the whole family, but with enough grunt to ensure that you can have oodles of fun on your own, then the GTX Limited would be on top of my list.
For me there’s something exciting about driving personal water craft in big, clean 3m swells. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a maniac, nor a competition rider doing big flips and getting 20ft of air off every wave. But getting a little bit of air every now and then and sitting on the top of a swell as it heads towards the coast, seeing your riding mate one minute, only to find yourself at the bottom of a massive trough the next and see nothing but water either side, is a great thing for me.
And the GTX Limited handled it riding ‘two up’ no problems at all. Because of its extra hull length (331cm) the craft rides well and is long enough to flatten out the chattering experienced of riding shorter craft in choppy conditions and has enough grunt to make light work of any trouble coming your way.
The waves at Box Head were in the 5-6ft range and Tony and I dumped our passengers (Adam and Elissa) rather quickly on a nearby beach to see what these babies could do.
Tony, riding the spritely Seadoo RXP, spent much more time in the air than I. But despite the GTX being designed as a family cruiser, and weighing 26kg less than the 2006 model, still more than the two seat RXP, it still managed to spend time off the blue stuff.
A 215hp supercharged Rotax 4-TEC behemoth lies in the belly of the craft, which pushed it along a sprightly 110kph at top speed, give or take a few ‘ks’.
As with all Seadoo PWCs, the engine features a closed-loop cooling system which means there’s no saltwater running through your engine – a benefit for saltwater users.
A 60lt fuel tank accompanies this impressive power plant and the craft is equipped with a plethora of other additions. Storage capacity is listed by BRP at 125lt; a removable storage bin sits in the front with a removable dry bag and waterproof mobile phone case also standard inclusions.
The seating position is comfortable and high. You park your behind on a heavily-padded seat coupled with a widened handle bar set-up with full instrumentation neatly and easy to read, when no going flat out, in front of you.
Again, all Seadoo craft are equipped with a little extra to make controlling the craft easy for riders of all levels and the revolutionary OPAS (Off-Power Assisted Steering) system and Learning Key system are standard features.
The OPAS system assists steering during off-power and off-throttle situations by deploying two rudders when engine revs drop providing additional manoeuvrability.
The Learning Key System is simply another key provided to owners which is pre programmed to automatically limit rpm, keeping top speed at around 35mph. Perfect for the wife or kids, as you don’t want them going faster than you!
The GTX Limited combines performance, comfort and features and is a great package for a buyer looking for more versatility.
There is nothing limited about the SeaDoo GTX. Whether you’re taking a the family for a picnic in enclosed waters or riding by yourself in a much more dynamic manner, this beast has enough features and grunt to cope with anything you can throw its way