Diesel 75

9 out of 10

I'm 5'9", 230 lbs., 30" inseam and have size 11 feet. I'm in my second year of paddling now and have paddled the Diesel 75 all Summer. Overall, I don't think I could be happier with a river runner. I'm not really fond of the name but what can you do?

I want to start with comfort because for me, it's a very important aspect of kayaking. I have no fantasies of ever becoming the next EJ, Ken Whiting, or whoever else. I just want to hit the river and have a good time. So, I can sacrifice slight performance diffrences for comfort, but with the Diesel I didn't have to. The outfitting in the Diesel is the most comfortable I've sat in. What was most important here for me is that the thigh hooks are closer in from the deck wall than on most boats. That's important since I have a short inseam and I finally have full contact with my knees and thighs unlike the GTX I paddled last year, yet I don't feel crammed into the boat. I use to have to get out of the GTX every 15-20 minutes, but I can go a few hours without getting out of the Diesel. My only complaints here are the backband which tends to hang low and I'm not a big fan of the ratchets.

The stability of this boat is amazing. I don't have any problems holding an edge in this boat. In fact, the boat has two edges, a low edge and a high edge. It's hard to explain and is something you just have to feel. Rolling this boat is very easy. It feels like it wants to be right-side up.

The Diesel is fast, much faster than the GTX. This could be due to the fact that I'm at the top edge of the weight limit for both boats, and the GTX seemd further engaged in the water. The Diesel's nose and stern are clearly out of the water. The result is that instead of plowing through waves, I ride up and over them now. It's been strange trying to adjust to this and the side effect is that I have much more speed cruising through a rapid. I've buried it in a few small holes and it pops through no problem. I even hit one hole I would never intentionally go through at this stage and before I could finish my panic I was through it.

The construction of the boat does concern me however. The plastic seems soft and easily scratched/peeled/dented. I've only had the boat this Summer and it looks like it's been through a war. The hull and deck have deep scratches in them and there are a few dents in the hull from a few unplanned collisions. The GTX plastic seemed much more durable and I know I banged it up far more than the Diesel. I think someone taking this boat hard-core creeking would destroy it.

I can live with an ugly boat though if it's this much fun to paddle. And that's the clincher, I really enjoy paddling this boat. Contrary to what I was told, this boat will front and side surf very well for a river runner even on smaller waves. It's a lot of fun to seal launch with too.

It would be nice if they introduced a Diesel 55 for smaller paddlers. I'm trying to convince my wife to take up kayaking and she's fairly small. I think this would be her best bet for the kind of boating she wants to do.
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