A fantastic way to hit the water and wakes by oneself, the original SOLO was an incredibly cool concept. Because nothing is a bigger downer than a no-show driver on a day set for waterskiing or wakeboarding, the SOLO was every waterskiier and wakeboarder’s ideal solution. The boat has the body and jet pump engine of a personal watercraft, only without a seat or handles. The remote control for the boat was found embedded in the handle of the towline attached to the boat. So, while getting towed by the boat, the skiier or boarder was also controlling the boat. It was a great idea that the folks at Pacific Watercraft Group nailed out of the gate, and have now improved.
They are taking things a few steps further with hot new features on the 2012 model. Along with a Bluetooth wireless safety lanyard that lashes up with an included custom ski vest, the SOLO now features remote retrieval. When a skiier wipes out, the boat engine cuts back on power and the entire boat turns and idles back to the skiier in the water, using the vest as its reference point. Once the boat is within a 10 foot radius of the skiier, the engine shuts off and the boat’s floating momentum brings it right up to the skiier. And because the SOLO remains light enough to easily maneuver while in the water, getting back up and skiing is effortless.
The remote control is another big change for the 2012 model. Where the first SOLO required the use of the towline and handle with the built-in remote controls for the boat, the 2012 model features wireless controls for the boat. Skiiers can now use their preferred towlines and handles, while using a clamshell-designed remote control interface for the boat that clamps onto their handle. For many wakeboarders and waterskiiers, this feature alone would be reason enough to consider an upgrade.
On top of the new remote design, the engine has been upgraded from its previously stout 70 horsepower output, to a whiplashing 125 horses. This increased power combines nicely with the new MEMS technology that keeps the boat tracking in a straight line, regardless of how hard the skiier pulls while cutting. Also, the new SOLO has a mini wakeboard tower, providing the extra lift that wakeboarders need, and a new hull design with an exaggerated wedge shape for thicker wake. Bring all of these elements together and tricks are now both safer and simpler than on the previous SOLO iteration.
Speaking of simple safety, the new SOLO boasts a depth sounder, which alerts the boat’s onboard computer to dangerous underwater features, such as sandbars, shoals, and rocks. The computer takes the information from the depth sounder and takes the appropriate diversion accordingly, using gentle course correction to ensure skiier safety. As a craft that is operated from well behind the power source, the SOLO should be operated only by experienced boaters with a great deal of room to operate; avoid busy Spring Break-types of environments. Also, with the number of hazards in the open ocean, SOLO operators would be well advised to stick with Lake Elsinore or arenas such as Long Beach’s Marine Stadium.
While the 2012 SOLO is pricey with an estimated MSRP of $17,995, its combination of outstanding safety and performance features make it a killer option for dedicated wakeboarders and waterskiiers who take their sport seriously.