By Adam Quandt
On the heels of not only redefining its performance segment, but also launching new features across multiple platforms with its 2021 model year machines, Sea-Doo did everything but rest on its laurels barreling into MY 2022.
“This year has been such a wild ride for Sea-Doo and that wave we’re riding hasn’t even crested yet,” Sea-Doo and BRP Marine Group director of product strategy James Heintz said during the virtual launch. “We’re enjoying record market share on a global scale and we’ve welcomed an unprecedented number of new customers.”
Over the years, Sea-Doo has become well known for pushing the limits of what a personal watercraft can be and do, but the BRP brand took things to a whole new level — and segment — for 2022, by way of introducing the world to the new Sea-Doo Switch.
With the Switch, Sea-Doo is launching itself back into the boating world, in one of the fastest growing segments — pontoons.
In early June, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported that sales of freshwater fishing boats and pontoons accounted for 45% of new powerboats sold in 2020 and were up a total of 13%. Additionally, Stratview Research estimates that the pontoon boat market will reach $2.5 billion by 2025.
“Over the years, we have proven that BRP is able to disrupt the industry by creating new segments,” BRP president and CEO José Boisjoli said in a company press release. “Our team has done it once again with the Sea-Doo Switch, which will revolutionize the pontoon market. Switch is uniquely positioned to attract new entrants and a younger generation.”
While pontoons are already popular, Sea-Doo’s Switch aims to completely redefine what a pontoon is, blending design and performance from both the traditional pontoon world and Sea-Doo’s well-versed PWC DNA.
The pontoons (tri-toons), ranging from 13- to 21-feet in length, are constructed with the help of Sea-Doo’s proprietary Polytec material and paired with Rotax’s 1630 ACE for a variety of three different horsepower options — 100, 170 and 230 — offering the optimum style of fun out on the water depending on customers’ needs. At the helm, the Switch continues to set itself apart from other traditional pontoons by featuring a drive-by-handlebar system similar to that found on Sea-Doo’s PWC, along with its Intelligent Brake and Reverse system (iBR) — making it the first pontoon on the market with brakes.
The Switch also features Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Debris Free (iDF) system introduced last year. The iDF system uses a new, separate gear set to engage the driveshaft into reverse to run the impeller in the opposite direction to clear any debris that may be blocking the pump system. The system is easily engaged using the handlebar control and will run for up to 12 seconds.
While a jet drive system, iBR and iDF systems, and handlebar helm already set the Switch in a new category of pontoon, it doesn’t stop at that. Where the Switch really sets a new bar is on the boat’s deck. The Switch’s entire deck is constructed out of configurable tiles. With only the helm being stationary, the layout of the boat can be changed (or switched) in mere seconds to accommodate any needs a boater might have. With over 100 options available, the modular tile system allows Switch owners to add or remove seating, change table locations, add speaker systems and much more.
“It’s a dynamic pontoon with the heart of a Sea-Doo,” said Annick Lauzon, director of global marketing for Sea-Doo and Ski-Doo at BRP. “And its quick-change deck design can be completely re-configured to fit a solo fishing trip in the morning to a family picnic at noon and a wakeboard session in the evening.”
Boating Industry was invited to an exclusive media preview for the Sea-Doo Switch, which allowed us to take a variety of the different models for a rip around Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka in early August. While the Switch looks mostly like a pontoon — though modern and new — we found the Switch to offer the perfect blend of pontoon versatility and PWC playfulness and sportiness.
With a diverse offering of sizes and power, the Switch is designed to keep any boater happy out on the water. However, with a low entry-level price and packaging each Switch with the trailer and engine, on top of a very intuitive and easy-to-use control system, Sea-Doo definitely has its sights set on first-time boaters with the Switch.
“The Switch brings much needed innovation to the powerboat industry,” Heintz said. “With a concept that combines all of the onboard space and stability of a pontoon, with the driving performance and watersports-friendly capabilities of a runabout. It’s a game-changing product.”
That’s not all folks
While the introduction of the Switch is some of Sea-Doo’s biggest news for its model year 2022 release, it certainly isn’t all Sea-Doo had up its sleeve for the year ahead.
On the watercraft side, most — though not all — of Sea-Doo’s focus for MY22 went toward its FishPro lineup. On the top end, Sea-Doo unveiled its all-new FishPro Trophy 170. The new Trophy 170 features a full-loaded fishing-focused PWC, with a quick-connect live well and integrated washdown system, a modular swivel fishing seat, anchoring system, advance battery system, and a Garmin 7-inch touchscreen fish-finder and navigation system.
On the other end of the spectrum, Sea-Doo also introduced the new FishPro Scout 130. Based on Sea-Doo’s GTI platform, the Scout 130 creates an affordable option for what Sea-Doo calls the “occasional fisherman or woman seeking both playful recreation and a great fishing experience.” The Scout 130 includes a redesigned 51-liter LinQ fishing cooler, adjustable rod holders both on the cooler and forward mounts, a 6-inch Garmin system, as well as additional storage accessories.
“Sport fishing is now the industry’s fastest growing segment,” Heintz said. “And it’s been amazing to see so many people discovering the Sea-Doo life via the FishPro, so it seemed like a natural next step to give our customers more of what they’re looking for.”
While Sea-Doo’s other PWC platforms remained mostly unchanged outside of some new color and graphics options, Sea-Doo announced that it was expanding some of its technology options to new platforms. More specifically, Sea-Doo is now offering its new infotainment system with full-color LCD display — initially introduced as only available on the GTX Limited in 2021 — on the FishPro Trophy, RXP-X, RXT-X and the WakePro 230. Additionally, Sea-Doo also announced it is expanding its iDF system into its recreation segment for 2022.
As always, Sea-Doo also introduced a handful of new accessories — including a new LinQ multi-cargo rack — for MY22.
“This all opens up a whole range of possibilities for customizing your day on the water,” Heintz said.
With a heap of new options, accessories and models, and despite facing some of the highest demand ever seen in the industry, Heintz said the team at Sea-Doo is geared up for production like never before and ready to keep getting more people out on the water and living the Sea-Doo life than ever before.