Diesel. RPN, Mamba or other?

-- Last Updated: Apr-19-07 6:29 PM EST --

My wife and I started kayaking only recently. After a LOT of intensive research AND renting a few different models - we purchased two Wilderness Tsunami 140's for quiet water lakes/ponds and slow moving Class I and below rivers, and for possible overnighters. We LOVE our (Transitional or Light) Touring Tsunami's.
Weny out 9 times in 7 weeks the first week after we purchased them. And the 3-way Wilderness seat is great comfort for my lower back muscles - allowing me to paddle hours longer!

However, we also want to now start with White Water, primarily River Running, but something we can have some fun in, and not worry about outgrowing the boat in several years. (limited budget - 4 Teens to support). I, initially looked at the RPM, but not sure about it, esp, old seating style for my back.

It was suggested and after reading some reviews (not here, sadly) that we both consider the WaveSport Diesel as a good all-around WW- primarily for RR Class II's. A lot of the trips by our local Paddling club are either Touring or Class II's, with flat/quieter water in-between.

We are not looking for a playboat. But want to be able to do some play, have fun, advance a little in techniques, but not necessarily tricks, and not ocean surf playboating at all.

And after discussing what I learned so far from my recent research on WW boats - with my wife - she has a suggested a strong preference for a Planning Hull. (She used to crew and race sailboats for years.)

So what are our best choices to consider? We will try to rent/try out each model, once we've narrowed down good choices for us.

I am leaning towards the Diesel as the top choice for us. Though slightly harder to roll than the RPM? Not so difficult, and not so bad for the quiet water spots?

Other suggestions?
Thanks in advance!

P.S.> If the Diesel seems to be a really good choice to try, which size for me? I may be in-between the sweet spot for either size.
Weight is about 185 lbs, 5'9". In good shape, healthy. Don't want to sit too low in smaller Diesel, but do not want the bigger Diesel to be too high in water, either or too much room I find it hard to advance and control.

How big is your wife?
as in weight/height

River Running Creek Boats
The selection of river running creek boats is currently very good, especially if you are buying new. Do not even consider the RPM (see the recent thread here). The Diesel is an excellent boat but has stiff competition from the LL series (Hoss, Lil Joe, etc.). I personally don’t care for the Mamba but lots of people like it. Actually the GT is probably the better choice from Dagger. The Jackson RR creek boat is another good choice. If you want to go cadillac, look at the Dragorossi Mafia.

My Wife is …
My wife is 5’ 7" and about 145 to 149 lbs.

with good upper body and leg strength.

Adding to what has been said, i will
throw out for considerration, (I have never seen these) Liquid Logic Super Hero and and Pyranha Burn.

Another suggestion
I wouldn’t buy a Creek boat for class II water (or III for that matter). They’re harder to turn and not as fun. IMO, based on what you described, I think you should buy one of the popular play boats from about 4 to 7 years ago. Wavesport “Z” for you (“X” for your wife) The EZ series, Pyranha InaZone series, Riot Booster, etc. The boats that I mentioned are very good for what you describe and you should be able to find them for about $300. or so.

Good luck,


Lil Joe For You And Trigger For Her
these are the big and smaller river runners by Liquid Logic. Both planing hulls. I think these have really some good thought out features.


I did the same research a year ago and tried most of the boats mentioned. The two that kept coming to the top were the mamba and the diesel. I found a killer deal on a mamba and a year later I am very pleased with it. I have friends with the diesel and we have traded boats everyone without exception likes the mamba better. But both are excellent boats for the river. the differences are mostly in the outfitting. I personally think that the mamba is a little easier to roll but that could be cause its mine and I’m more comfortable in it. Both have good initial and secondary stability. Neither are much of a playboat. You can surf but thats about it. As for size I went with the bigger boat for my size, easier to punch through holes. So in my opinion if you want a river runner both of these are great boats, but if you want to play neither is good.

Ditto Equinecowboy
I have the Mamba 8.5 (I needed the bigger size) and I love it. Very comfortable. I put about 40 river days on it in the last year. My paddling partner has a Diesel (actually she has both sizes) and she loves her boat too. You can’t go wrong with either.

Good Luck,


Narrowe down, however

– Last Updated: Apr-20-07 1:46 PM EST –

Thanks to all - you all have been a big help. I believe I have now narrowed down our initial list of choices to rent/try before we buy to:

Liquid Logic Lil Joe & Trigger?
WaveSport Diesel
Dagger Mamba

The Drago Rossi line looks interesting, but at about 40% more in cost . . .

There was a suggestion for older boats at about $300 or so; not ignored, just concerned about my lower back and seat dsign/comfort - one reason shying away from RPM, among others.

And nothing says that I have to get the same boat for both myself and my wife - so this gives us a better variety and more fun, esp. in the shopping around!

ONE Q.} I thought the Hoss was the bigger companion to the Lil Joe?

Jackson Hero
These guys are really really creek boats - lots of volume to keep you from getting caught in a hole and absolutely not playable. My husband and I both gave them a quick try (Hero for me and SuperHero for him) - just some rolls and crossing some eddies etc - and really did not like them. I expect that if we ever wanted to do some major WW, where we needed a lot of boat that would blow right thru touble and go fast they’d be great boats. But for the lower level WW situation, with an eye to some playing, the creek boats like the Hero ain’t it.

You and EquineCowboy . . .

– Last Updated: Apr-20-07 9:31 AM EST –

Both, yourself (JBoyd) and Equine Cowboy mentioned the larger Mamba 8.5, because of size.
may I ask what size (Ht & Wt)?

I am 5' 9" and 185 lbs.

Really Depends…
If you really want foregiveness, than you go bigger. If you want some play, than you go with the smaller.

Two years ago, took a brand spanking new WW paddler down in NHAMC ww school. He had to be six feet and 200 lbs. I thought he had plenty foregiveness with the lil joe.


Quick response and then I’ll duck
The Diesel is a good boat. You don’t need it for Class 2. I’ve got a buddy with a Mamba that he loves. You don’t need it for Class 2 either.

If you want to surf and play in the Class 2’s, go ahead. If all you want to do is run through, consider something cheaper and easier to learn in.

I mostly fish when I paddle, but I do it in and around class 2 and 3 water. I’m not playing in it, but running through.

If you’re interested in running through, another boat to consider is the Dagger Approach. It’ll be at home in up to class 3 running (not playing) and can handle flatwater easily too.

Plus it’s got the advantage of being several hundred dollars less expensive per boat.

If you really want to go whole hog, the Diesel is wonderfully comfortable, effective, and capable. I haven’t paddled the other boats on your list.

  • Big D

Thanks, no need to duck . . .
Thanks, no need to duck!

If I just wanted to run through,

that would be fine.

However, as we go out more and more,

We would like to learn to play, some.

I guess what we do not want a boat for is Surf/ocean waves “tricks”, air, etc.

And being new to ww terminology, I wasn’t clear enough.

Thnaks for your input.

It is appreciated.

Pyranha Stretch?

– Last Updated: Apr-20-07 2:52 PM EST –


Haven't paddled one, but looks to be in the same class as the boats you're considering.

Comes in two sizes and two different levels of outfitting.

My wife and I each have an InaZone (220 for her, 232 for me.)

The InaZones came with the widest recommendation from knowledgable paddlers. We are just edging into ww. The Inazones are the models that most people agreed were among the best capable learning platforms that can be used in an array of conditions.

At varying times Pyranha made up to three or so different sizes of InaZones. It is supposedly the best selling planing hull boat.

It is possible to find an appropriate sized Inazone used for $300 and up.

more of a playboat i would say,
the one user i know who has one, is having some difficulty with rolling.

Good info. Now i can
remove it from my dream list of toys i don’t know and have never seen but want.

Dagger GT series
Designed for exactly what you’re wanting to do. Love mine.