Boat Review: WaveSport's Diesel | Rapid Magazine | Rapid Media
Boat Review: WaveSport's Diesel Photo: Rob Faubert

With very little fanfare or hype, Wave Sport launched its new river running boats, the Diesel 65 and 75. Even on Wave Sport’s own website, all you get is a couple of profiles, specs and your choice of two new colours: ice and citrus. It’s as if nothing but empty coffee cups are blowing down the hall of their marketing department. Having paddled the Diesel, we realize this may be some sort of trick, some sly strategy to only let a select few know about it. Well Mr. Marketing dude, your little charade is a bust, THE DIESEL RIPS! 

If Wave Sport is not going to tell you, let us give you the run down. First, the Diesel comes in two sizes, 65 and 75, telling you the volume in US gallons. Have a look at the specs and you’ll see for the two models the weight ranges are huge, 100-200 and 140-240 pounds. This is a great time to go big, or go home. Almost anyone will fit in the smaller 65 but if you’re 165 pounds and up, go for a light, nimble, bouncy, and stable ride in the cush 75: 120 pounders loved the 65. Sizing is key, especially when you add the weight of your gear: the Diesels are true river runners.

A couple of days in the Diesels on the Kipawa River, a mid-sized but pushy river, we deemed them a perfect match of boat to conditions. In aerated wash and boils below the dam, the Diesel is super stable. The multi chine hull offers wicked secondary stability, it can be laid on edge with no fear; it feels like you can paddle it there all day. Initial stability is comfortable, but not like current freestyle boats—the planing surface is not nearly as wide. Want to teach people to roll, put them in Diesels!

On the Kipawa, and less technical runs, the Diesels are great. You have lots of time for a few strokes to get the boat to an impressive cruising speed. You also have room to carve into an eddy. For technical creeking, some folks are going to find the Diesels’ waterline too long for quick pivots and they don’t snap to top speed like a CFS or Micro. Life is a compromise; and these boat do a great job of sitting on the fence waiting to fall into whatever headwaters you choose.

Not only can the Diesel run rivers and creeks, it’s a blast to surf. Tumbling Dice on the Kipawa is once again worth stopping for. The combination of hull speed, rockered bow and crazy stability had us ripping long waves like the good old days. And, you can even bounce and blunt the Diesel; try that in a RPM!

We normally write about outfitting first, but we forgot about it—a true compliment to good outfitting is not having to think about it. The F.A.T. system including seat, thigh braces and hip pads, and new back band (with ratchets, finally) are superb. With plenty of foot room Wave Sport went back to a bulkhead rail system. The Diesels ship with two different sized bulkheads; ensure (we didn’t) you fit it properly so your feet can’t slide overtop (ours did). The boat feels tough with no flex in the cockpit rim. It’s the best outfitted-to-task boat going. Now, if only they could make a large volume, solid boat without the portage weight.

Why Wave Sport hasn’t pumped the Diesel is beyond us. Perhaps the models are in short supply or maybe their marketing department is just too busy “field testing” them on the river. Come to think of it, I have seen one advertisement for the Diesel, the tag line read, “the SUV of kayaks”. Nuff said. 

Specs (65 / 75):

Length 7’6” / 8'0"
Width 25” / 25.5"
Depth 12.5” / 12.75"
Volume 65 gal / 75 gal
Weight 36 lbs / 37 lbs
Range 100-200 / 140-240 lbs
MSRP: $1399 Cdn $999 US

rapidv6i4cover.jpgThis article first appeared in the Fall 2004 issue of Rapid Magazine. For more great boat reviews, subscribe to Rapid's print and digital editions here.

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