Ski M.D's annual report of the year of jetski's in New Zealand, written by Kevin Geard.
Well on the way out of the financial crisis of ‘09 and it seems Kiwis are back on track spending money on toys both new and used, plus repairing the stuff we already have. Christchurch took a pounding from Mother Nature with the earthquakes still rocking their town but jet skiing down there is as solid as ever and it is fair to say that we New Zealanders find nothing should get in the way of our god given summer holidays.
New ski buyers are enjoying some of the best ever deals with prices on some entry level gear being the best I have seen in years. Recommended Retail Prices are not even a decent guide to what your dollar will buy this season dealers nationwide have jumped on the Trade Me brand wagon only to bludgeon each other's margins to death, making ‘shopping around' the easy way to keep hard earned dollars in your pocket and leave you with sufficient funds to feed your fuel tank over your holidays.
The flow on effect of these amazing price wars for one of the brands, is having its used resale values eroded away by its dealerships advertising packages at low prices, often very little margin in order to sell a ‘number'. We have witnessed alterations in pricing and ‘cashback' offers change a couple of times before Christmas and nothing guts us shoppers more than buying something this week to find the same thing at the same place cheaper next week.
Dealer of the year award !! This year's award most certainly goes to "Trade Me". This is a one stop shop for new and used craft and anything for sale is only worth what the cheapest one on Trade Me is selling for. It seems many Kiwis are now happy to forfeit warranty in exchange for reduction in price at the ‘private sale'. Trade Me and consumer regulations were the subject of review late this year with the reminder that the "Buy Now" price still have warranty under the NZ Consumers Guarantees Act regardless of dealer or private buying. That aside - the easiest way to save a lot of time and heartache is a Pre-Purchase Inspection with a full written report when buying any second hand ski.
Who's done what this year?? Kawasaki are on a comeback in Auckland with the appointment of a new Jetski dealership (Experience Kawasaki) and some exciting new product is on the horizon. They will be the first brand to release a 300 hp jetski for those that want the ultimate power and this is due to hit the shop floors in the first quarter of next year. 2011 will be the last year Kawasaki produce the pole ski as we know it due to emission control laws making two stroke craft illegal to sell in America which is the world's largest watercraft market. Kawasaki appointed Ski M.D. as an authorised Jetski service centre last year giving us full factory support in the maintaining of their product.
Yamaha have had a bumper year selling the best (in my opinion) quality "range" in the market currently and are already selling the 2011 models early due to exceeded sales of 2010 models. Yamaha's name has always been synonymous with reliability in marine products and while some other brands are choosing to go high tech and electronic, this may be proving to be unreliable and poorly durable. Yamaha is a solid well engineered product and the FZR has been my personal choice of craft for this summer. Yes, after wearing my yellow (Seadoo) undies for the last number of years, I have swapped them for blue, as this year the quality of build and performance is just the best out there from a purely mechanical perspective. If you're looking for top of the line craft with luxury and power, I think you can't beat an SHO Cruiser though but we only need one each eh?
Honda and HSR are both quiet players in our market with S4 pole ski's selling well initially in NZ then somewhat falling aside maybe due to lack of any dealerships. Honda would still appear to be one of the most parallel imported craft with owners mostly very happy with their craft.
Jetski fishing continues to grow in popularity this year with every man and his dog getting on the band wagon of producing this that and the other of all the bits you "must have" in order to fish off your ski. We have fitted more fish finders than I can remember and enjoyed lots of snapper which my awesome customers have dropped off to us. I am picking that it does not take long to recover the investment of a fish finder when you look at snapper in Countdown at $42.00 per kilo. Bells and whistles aside, a simple rod holder and a budget fish finder seems to net the same catch as some of the monster rigs we have set up for people.
Not so good stuff !! Jeremy Burfoots' London to Auckland ride while covering a massive distance fell short with the sinking of all three of his Sea Doo craft when the going got rough in the Aegean Sea. The boys were bloody lucky they had all the best safety gear with them as after three hours in the water they were rescued by helicopter and returned to land shaken but not deterred. You can't stop Jeremy and he is in the throws of planning his next mission which he will release details on in due course.
Jetski Racing !! Most likely participation is down due to economic times with numbers in the winter series way under half the peaks of years gone by. Maybe only half of one percent of jetski owners choose to compete in the racing side of the sport and if club membership numbers are anything to go by it looks like jetski fishing has the racing beat hands down. Auckland gained a new club. Auckland Jet Ski Riders Association is a break-away bunch from the original club, AJSBA. The initiator of the new club felt more emphasis needed to be put on social rides and we look forward to seeing some of these advertised in our "rides" section on our web site. AJSBA is still alive and well and caters for all those that want to go racing. Check them both out as with membership growth will come events.
Where to from here ?? Another year of the same for us with more plans to further improve the Ski M.D experience. As I write this wrap up, Cathie and I are in Tairua in the mobile service rig taking care of craft for all the holiday makers while enjoying our time on the water and generally catching our breath ready for the true summer onslaught which traditionally sees us with heads down from January until April.
We wish everyone a Happy New Year and look forward to being of assistance in all things jetski to you in the year ahead.