Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Woods on the left past Mayberry
I agree with most of the above posts. Definitely look at a 4 stroke. 2 storke skis are yesterday's technology. The newer 4 strokes are easier to maintain and more reliable over the long term, but can be more expensive to repair when they do break.
Like anything else, how long a ski will last depends on how thorough you do your care and maintanence. With salt water use that will mean religious flushing after each ride, spraying on anti-corrosive lubricants, keeping the oil and filter changed, etc.. I've got friends with salt water skis that have over 500 hours and are still running good. On the otherhand, I've seen neglected skis with less than 50 hours with completely ruined engines.
In your price range I'd recommend a used Yamaha FX, FX HO, or VX. Stay away from supercharged or turbocharged engines, especially in salt water. The Yamaha VX will give you the best gas mileage of any ski (2 or 4 stroke)........and I'm talking 3-4 mpg better than any other ski. It is a fairly stable ski and can haul up to 3 riders and tow a tube or wakeboarder. The ride on a VX is a little bouncy and you will get wet in the chop. Top speed is around 54 mph. With the FX model you get a more stable, dryer, ride at the same speed, at the cost of a little less fuel efficiency. With the FX HO you get stability, a dry ride, and more speed (around 60 mph). Fuel efficiency with the FX HO is again less than with the VX or FX, but still very good compared to other models (SeaDoo, Honda, Kawasaki). For around $6000 you can find a good low hour VX, FX, or FX HO with a trailer (even less for the VX).
2008 Yamaha FX HO Cruiser
2010 Hurricane Sundeck 2100
Last edited by Ernest T; 01-07-2011 at 12:33 PM.