Official magazine of the American Watercraft Association

Until 2003, the American Watercraft Association published a magazine known as Jet Sports. Professional watercraft racing enjoyed a boom in the early 1990s, and racing provided much of the content. By the end of the 1990s and early into the 21st century, racing had considerably diminished. PWC had come under attack from environmentalists, and the downturn in the national economy exacerbated a drop in sales.

AWA asked Hammock Inc. to redesign and relaunch the magazine from stem to stern. The design was dated, the photography and production values mediocre, and the magazine said little about recreational riding.

This sport is about fun, Hammock’s writers and designers said, so let’s make it look like that. Also, PWC can be used for touring, fishing, snorkeling and diving, even scientific research (and delivering pizzas, we learned later), so let’s talk about that. And let’s give it a new name that embraces all these things—why not just call it Ride PWC Magazine? It’s a noun and a verb, and a command as well—go out and Ride!

Drawing upon surfing and boating magazines for inspiration, yet recognizing that our readers ranged from 20-somethings to 80-plus, we designed a publication that looks like it’s at full throttle there on the coffee table, with clean lines and a shipshape distinction between departments, features and association news.

We applied nautical terms, such as “Waterfront,” “ShipShape” and “Wavelength,” to departments and gave them a distinctive black frame to set them off from features. Editorially, we mapped out five primary uses for PWC—family togetherness, performance, racing, escape and utility—and through the course of a year, we plot coverage of each of those areas.

Since relaunching the magazine, we have added a section for first responders who use PWC in rescues. We’ve also added profiles of corporate and dealer sponsors of AWA, whose support enables the association to continue its mission.