Diesel 75
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redrider

10 out of 10

For context, I'm 6', 175,32 inseam, size 9 shoes. Paddling for 2 years, just entering class III water. Permanent member of geezer class and consequently very cautious about each step up the learning ladder. Have owned or paddled extensively in most of the current generation of river-runner designs, in order -- RPM Max, GTX, Supersonic, Hoss and now the Diesel.

Until this boat, I couldn't find a really good fit -- though I think of myself as a medium sized man, the boat designers must disagree. I seemed to fall prefectly between two available sizes, and always, on advice of experts, chose the larger size. Result -- my boats had lots of stability, not much responsiveness.

The outfitting is, flat out, the best I've ever seen, and the most comfortable I've ever used. This is the first boat Iv'e had that did not require any extra foam, anywhere. After 5 hours on the river, I had zero discomfort at any point. By the way, Wavesport does indeed supply two foot braces with both sizes-- to accommodate a range of leg lengths. (At my size, in the 75, I had to use the larger brace (i.e. for shorter legs) and had seven notches left on the bulkhead adjustment!)

As for how it handles, this one is a keeper. It is the first boat that has truly fit me. (And yet I have seen much bigger (like 6'5" and 260) people demo it comfortably.) It is very stable - esp great secondary stability. I agree with prior review - this has to do with the sidewall design. Seemed to ignore boiling water and self-correct on eddy lines. It is also very fast -- nearly as fast as the Supersonic, which makes ferrying and attainment much easier. Yet it is quite manuverable (comparable to the GT, slightly slower to turn than the Hoss, but I think that's a plus - holds a line and tracks on flatwater with far less effort.) Handles drops and holes better than any of the others. Punches well, surfaces fast. The Diesel is not designed for play, of course, but it's a pretty good surfer. Turn it over and I think you can trace the "Z" heritage.

Of great importance at my stage of learning, it's easy to roll. I know the advanced paddlers snort at this attribute -- "not a bad boat but a bad roll." And I know they are right. But, that said, some boats are more forgiving of a flawed roll than others. And this one is about as forgiving as an RPM -- which, from direct experience and testimonials, is as forgiving as they get. Several aspects of the design contribute here: the rounded, creek boat style top deck, the triple chine sidewall (rather than single hard edge), the taper from cockpit to stern, and finally, a key, the modest depth of the cokpit just at the seat positon. Flexibility is an issue this elder, and I find it much easier to get my paddle up and out for a proper sweep with this boat.

Bottom line - in my first three days in this boat, my paddling took a big leap forward. Wavesport gets most of the credit.

As a P.S., I will be interested to see what experienced creek boaters see in this design. To my eye, it looks more like a true creeker than any of the others. The volume has been added in the vertical plane, rather than the horizontal. The sidewalls resemble a dispalcement hull in that they do not catch on rocks ( I proved this on a couple of very bony runs!) The bow is not as blunt as some true creekers, but more so than the other runners that claim creeking ability. I would guess the only limitation would be the flat hull in landing tall drops. But the upshot is that this design will make a really fine beginner boat that one can keep and use for a long, long time as a big water runner and moderate creeker.
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