Wavesport Diesel 75 (Review)

The hype from the maker:

“The SUV of kayaks. Smooth and stable, quick and maneuverable, capable of going “off-road” when you are ready, the Diesel has become an instant classic. Surfing, river-running or steep creeking, the Diesel is ready to roll. (And easy to roll, for the record!)”

The spec:

Length: 8′ / 240 cm
Weight :41 kg – 19 kg
Width: 25.5″ / 63.75 cm
Cockpit: 33″ x 19″ / 82.5 cm x 47.5 cm
Volume: 75 gal / 283.8 L
Deck Height: 12.75″ / 31.9 cm
Paddler Weight Range: 140 – 240 lbs / 45.4 kg – 90.7 kg




So, does it do exactly what it says on the tin? …in my humble opinion, yes! This is most certainly the best boat I’ve paddled to-date. WaveSport have dubbed it the ‘SUV’ of kayaks and I’m not going to argue with that…

It’s a reliable, predictable river boat with plenty of volume to make to you feel safe on bigger water and enough bite to punch through those sticky holes; but it still has a nice playful flat hull with good rails to aid turning and surfing.

The manufacturer says it’s a creek boat too, and while perhaps not enjoying as much rocker as some proper creek boats, the 75 will still perform well on tight, drop-filled rivers and, according to those in the know, boofs with relative ease. It paddles well in a straight line, turns with relative ease and has great secondary-stability as well, so when you’re hard on edge you don’t feel like you’re about to go visit the fishes!

There’s plenty of room inside which makes it a comfortable fit (negating the need for wee neo-socks in place of proper boots) and it provides loads of room in the back for dry bags and kit; you won’t need to compromise on bouyancy bags either! It might be a little heavier than some of its competitors, but it’s still not going to break your back on one of those epic walk-ins…

While many lighter paddlers may prefer the Diesel 65, I’m only 11 stone and I feel the larger boat is still fully manouverable and handles well; it doesn’t swamp me unlike some other larger models on the market. This is no doubt aided by the excellent outfitting, including an adjustable seat, a robust ratchet backrest, customisable hip pads and solid ‘wrap-around’ thigh braces…oh, and while we’re on the subject of fittings & fictures, the grab loops (inc. two just behind the cockpit) are made from solid metal, not tape, which make them ideal for attaching karabiners in rescue situations…

In terms of the spray deck sizes, you’ll need a Palm Roto 5, Elephant Mammoth or similar, but the cockpit seems to fit most larger decks snuggly and the well-designed lip provdes just enough seal to keep the water out, while also gripping enough to fend-off implosion on bigger water.

The only small gripe I have about the Diesel is that the bulkhead foot rest is a little small for those of us who need to pull it right up, but that can easily be sorted by retro-fitting a different model or strapping on a strip or two of foam under the plate to raise it up; job’s a good’un!

All-in-all, I think this is a great boat and well worth the money. I’d recommend it to any one, and with the new range of Diesel 60s, 70s and 80s out this year, you may be able to grab yourself a cheap bargain while stocks last! Go on, what are you waiting for?!

…and is it easy to roll? Yes! I’ve even managed the odd back-deck rodeo roll in it; which, for me, is saying something!



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