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Making a Comeback: The Kawasaki Super Chicken

By Krisdy Riddle

In the 21st century, we have grown accustomed to the ordinary design of the stand-up and sit-down jet ski structure. A typical stand-up consists of the single rider tray and adjustable handle pole while the sit-downs have a seat for multiple passengers. Yet to this day, one particular ski remains unprecedented and has made quite a splash in recent years.

We’re talking about the Kawasaki Sport Cruiser, also known as the “Sea Couch”, “Spine Crusher”, and most iconically the “Super Chicken.” The side-by-side three passenger seat, slender nose embedded with storage, and moveable steering wheel that allows any rider onboard to take control, are just some of the peculiar features of this one-of-a-kind jet ski. Typically loaded stock with a 650 twin cylinder two stroke motor, they are one of the slower riding jet skis maxing out at about 25 to 30 miles per hour.

Watercraft Illustrated Kawasaki SC
Slash Mag March 1991

But it's snail speed, substandard handling performance, and goofy-looking build has not stopped folks from pushing their performance limit and reviving the Chicken back to life. If you've ever ridden a SC, you know how much drift you catch on the backside. Whether you desire a chill cruise or getting sendy, the SC is great fun for everyone of all ages.

Jet ski racer and enthusiast Steve Hotchkiss (@beerdart) first introduced the idea of a Super Chicken class to Region 8 Racing in 2014. Visual media of the Region 8 SC race hit the internet, allowing hundreds of people to watch Chickens fly around the buoys, sliding left and right. Quite a humorous and entertaining show, SC's gradually gained positive support and attention.

Kawasaki Super Chicken Racing

Race leagues including Jet Jam Racing and East Coast Watercross have now established their own Super Chicken classes, with the East Coast averaging about 7 to 8 racers per moto. In 2018, Jet Jam even got the thumbs up to allow a tandem race requiring two riders per Chicken. This year, ECW launched a brand-new class: ‘The Biggie Small’ which consisted of children and their parents each racing on their own Chicken. The idea was to allow kids to get comfortable on the race course, while competing against each other and their parents.

Excitingly enough, the high demand for the Kawasaki SC has even gained attention from the IJSBA World Finals. For the first time ever, the 2021 Lake Havasu World Finals is dedicating a two-moto class for the Kawasaki Super Chicken category. It is safe to say, we are thrilled to see some Chickens launching out of the coop.

There is an old saying that goes: “It is more fun to drive a slow car fast than to drive a fast car slow.” The same belief can also be applied to the Chicken. It doesn't necessarily take speed to have fun, the real joy comes from smiles and laughs you share on the ride (when you’re not arguing over who gets to steer).

Super Chicken Racing

Kawasaki SC Specs

List Price (1991)

US$5599.00

Warranty

One year (limited)

Passengers

2

Length

109.4in / 278cm

Width

48.4in / 123cm

Height

42.1in / 107cm

Weight

430lbs / 195kg dry

Engine

Engine Type

Water-cooled, two stroke, twin

Displacement

Bore x Stroke

76 x 70mm

Compression Ratio

7:2:1

Intake System

Reed valve

Carburetion

Lubrication

Oil injected

Starting System

Ignition

CDI

Battery

Drive Unit

Propulsion System

Jet Pump Type

Axial-flow, single-stage

Impeller Rotation

Transmission

Fuel / Oil

Fuel

Regular

Fuel Tank Capacity

6.6 gal / 25 L

Oil Tank Capacity

0.63 gal / 2.4 L

Photo credits: Ken Gallagher & VJS Originals

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