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Posted: 15.06.2017 BY Natty Cordon

The Diesel has long been a popular choice amongst white water newcomers, renowned for its versatility and predictable performance on low-volume rivers and play runs, but capable of pushing steeper creeks as boating skills develop. More recently, it feels as if the Diesel’s prowess on the British rivers has been buried by an influx of larger creek boats on the market. I fear that the humble river runners, perfect for British white water, are being wrongly forgotten.
​My Diesel 70 is increasingly becoming my first choice, rather than my creek boat, for most of our British rivers.
Advantages Disadvantages
The Diesel really enjoys being the correct way up! It really is a very stable boat under all circumstances - bigger volume rapids and holes, technical low volume rivers and surfing. This boat is truly versatile. Any boat with a planing hull shape is slightly harder to roll than creek boats with a displacement hull, like the Recon. The Diesel's love of being upright makes up for this - you shouldn't have to roll it very often!
The Diesel's planing hull makes it fast. If you're a lazy paddler like me, this just means that you don't have to put as many paddle strokes in to achieve the same goal. It also means that the Diesel will fly over the top of holes that others will get stuck in on steeper white water. Whilst the Diesel is easy to boof, its river running shape makes it less forgiving than a creek boat if you do miss your boof and plug a hole, but this is only really a problem at the top end of grade 4/5.
River runners like the Diesel have much harder rails than their creek boat counterparts. This makes them effortlessly manoeuvrable on technical white water. The flip-side to manoeuvrability is that river runners are less forgiving than creek boats if the up-stream edge is dropped #powerflip
With different outfitting packages, you can choose the set-up and price point that best suits your paddling style and budget. A Diesel with the top-of-the-range CORE WhiteOut seat system offers unparalleled connectivity and comfort. The BlackOut option offers a lighter, cheaper but less technical alternative. The Diesel is built to last, with relatively thick plastic in the hull. If you go for the heavier CORE WhiteOut outfitting, this makes the overall boat weight around 19.5kg for the Diesel 70 (medium size). This is heavier than some of the light river-runners on the market, but I feel that the added connectivity and durability is worth the weight.
Many of the top white water kayakers in the UK are increasingly paddling long-buried treasures; river runners that have been tucked up in the garage since the early 1990s. Whilst there is no doubt that old school is cool, perhaps we don’t need to dig quite so deep to find river runners that offer a bit more fun on the UK’s low-volume rivers.
The Wave Sport Diesel is a true buried treasure. Perhaps it’s time to get digging?
Lining up for the Welsh Open Boater X. Photography by Bob Lewis
A short but glorious period of time spent in the lead! Photography by David Steen