Girl’s Eye View of the Wavesport Diesel

Before I bought the pyranha burn small, I paddled the wavesport diesel 60. Because I worked for the University of Tennessee Outdoor Program in Knoxville, Tenn. as a kayak instructor, I could use the boats almost whenever I wanted (so long as they weren’t reserved). This benefit was better for the other kayak instructors who got to use the Jackson Hero, Dagger Nomad, Wavesport Project, and other boats we had. I was lucky to have the Diesel 60–ordered in 2010 along with the 2010 series kayaks–which was for the occasional tiny student or faculty that wanted to try kayaking.

The diesel has defined edges as seen in this photo

That said, Wavesport’s new diesel series is pretty awesome. Though a solid river runner, the diesel handled big and tough whitewater almost with the best of the creek boats. In fact, had the pyranha not had the edges that it does, I would have bought a diesel over a standard creek boat. I’m going to go over the specs that make this a great boat in general and specifically for female paddlers.


In short, Diesel reigns in full-performance boat that accomodates almost any sized person. The Diesel 60 fits people from 60-140 pounds, which puts people like smaller women who are alwaysy, and I mean always, at the bottom of the weight range in the middle for once. This different placement allows for less need for padding. I only put a small pad on the seat to raise myself up a little. That was it. I mean, 10 minutes and I was done. Really. I’m not kidding! I understand that pretty much everyone has to outfit their boats, but being a 106, 5’1″ female trying to outfit most boats available to make it work is like handing her a pair of 34 by 30 men’s pants and expecting it to be form-fitting. Also, kayaks are basically men’s boats that women can outfit, which is fine, but hence the analogy.

So the diesel 60 was like finally introducing a women’s section to kayaks. While men can also use the diesel 60, hipsters also wear skinny jeans. So it all works out.


Setting up to roll. I was glad at this moment the roll is easy with the Diesel.

Despite its hard edges, the diesel series is designed to roll easily. The edges also allow this boat to turn sharply and even surf fairly well–not that you’re doing cartwheels, but 360s are possible and even fun in it. The roll does feel a little similar to rolling a playboat like Wavesport’s EZG; however, I would still suggest this boat to a beginner.


I love this boat, but I bought the pyranha because I needed a boat that could take me to the class V whitewater I’ve been flirting with lately. The diesel is solid on any and every class IV-IV+ I’ve tried, but I’ve run into a couple holes and some bad spots that a bigger rocker could have handled. The diesel has no rocker; it is a torpedo. It will generally punch through rapids, but not ride them. It’s edges exist unlike on creekers and are lower than the pyranha, and those have also tripped me up in some meatier whitewater.

Overall, I trust and love this boat on anything from beginner to class IV+ big whitewater and rivers. Ladies (and gentlemen), what say you about this boat? Any good/less than good experiences with it? Anything else you’d like to me to cover regarding this kayak or specs about it that should be mentioned? I’d love to hear it. Happy boating!



11 responses to “Girl’s Eye View of the Wavesport Diesel

    • Much easier. The Diesel sits lower and allows for your legs to rest lower than in the cockpit than the Burn. What makes the Burn difficult to roll is the higher knee positions.

    • Also, as a 5’1″ female, I love adjusting the Diesel 60 because it’s for the most part a matter of adjusting the foot rests and adding a little padding to the hip pads–like what every other regular sized boater deals with. For the Burn, I had to really outfit it with extra everything, similar to you.

  1. This is all very good information! I’m not much bigger than you – 5’3″, 120 lbs….What do you think of the Dagger Nomad for smaller women? The specs seem like it would be too big. Is there another creeker/river runner you would also recommend trying?

  2. Oh, I see what you are saying about the knee position. I didn’t like it when I first got the boat. So, I’ve got the largest sweet cheeks available in there. Which raises me up into the knee braces several inches. But, this also changes my center of gravity – which makes it harder to roll. I feel like I made revisions to correct certain things that then caused different problems.

    • Well, this weekend I actually tried the sweet seat for the pyranha instead of the sweet cheeks, and they are awesome! They force your knees up into the higher position and keep your center of gravity lower. I’m about to buy them because I felt so comfortable in my boat–more comfortable than I’ve ever been in the pyranha burn. Let me know how it works for you!

  3. Is this a Jackson product? I’m having a hard time finding any info on it. Do you have a link?

  4. Hi, I am also 5’1 106lbs so I am very happy I found this article.
    I am thinking about purchasing either the diesel 60, or a small pyrnaha ammo because it’s supposedly a good boat for smaller paddlers that might not feel as comfortable in bigger boats. I won’t get to try them out before buying and I was wondering if I could have your input or any other boat you would recommend.
    Last summer was my first season, I can roll easily and mostly just ran local creeks with class III in a little perception jib. This summer I would like to become a more skilled paddler. I would like a boat that I can feel confident in, learn more, and go on more difficult runs
    Thank you!!

  5. Hi, I love my Diesel 80. for my size, 6’3″ and 180 lbs not many boats are perfect. With an 36″ inseam there is enough room for my feet and a lot of volume. I spend a lot of time in a Jackson Fun and I’m used to a flat bottom boat, that’s probably why the Diesel always makes me smile. Compared to a Villain it’s much more precise and easier to turn, Compared to a Super Hero much faster. When I switched from Villain to Diesel I tried a Zet Raptor (trouble with my legs), a Stomper and some other boats. Even though Jackson kayaks are allways super easy to roll, the Diesel is not harder: hand rolls are just sweet.
    There is a trick to give the boat some more rocker: get the boat on one edge and it won’t act like a torpedo but get over the feature. Just my 2 cent. Cheers, Tom

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