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How To Make the Most of Your Local Run

Travelling abroad is a little more complicated than it used to be at the moment, however here are a few of my favorite things to do on my local run to ensure I make the most out of it while having fun, staying fit, and making sure I’m ready for when I finally get to travel and kayak some new rivers!

Seal Launches

To practice seal launches will give you enough technique and experience in case you ever need it when portaging a drop and seal launching is the safest and quickest way to get back to the river. It will also provide airtime in a controlled and consequence-free environment so that you can work and improve your free-fall technique for when you get to the drops and waterfalls.

Find a nice flat top rock anywhere from 1 to 5 or whatever you feel comfortable with, make sure the pool at the bottom is deep enough. 

Make sure you push forward hard with the edge of your blade and engage your core and your legs so that the bow doesn’t drop instantly.

Once in the air bring your body forward so you can take control after the launch and correct your angle if needed (stomp) or get ready for landing. 


It’s a great way to develop explosive strength and work on endurance as well, plus making it back to the top means you get to go down one more time. 

When doing attainments, focus on reading the water and find ways to use curlers, waves, diagonals, rocks, little eddies… or any other feature to help you make your way up the river more efficiently and using less effort so you can save that energy for when you really have to muscle it through. 

Eddie Catching

One of my favorite things to do on the river and probably the best to make things longer when paddling very short sections. Eddie catching will give you a ton of edge control and feel for the water and the boat while making you stronger as you start – stop every time.

Focus on reading the eddy ahead before entering it and adjusting as needed; boat angle, speed, edge, bow draw, sweep, punt…

Stern Squirts and Stalls

Definitely one of the most fun things to do on the river with a slicey boat, they will help you enormously with edge control and getting a SIX pack! 

Make sure you have a nicely defined eddy line and paddle towards it at a 45-degree angle. Drop your upper edge and sink that tail with a backstroke on the other side while you lean back. Control the boat and keep it vertical using your legs and body, leaning forward will bring your boat more vertical or even make you flip and leaning back will drop your bow back to flat. Play with it and after a few tries, you’ll start to feel it and will be able to hold your stall with the help of your paddle as well. 


Surfing is another of those fun things to do that has a great positive impact on our skills. You’ll develop great edge control and feeling for your kayak and the water. Try to surf all kind of features, flat glassy waves (amazing), sticky pourer holes (not that fun sometimes), little waves… Surfing a wide variety of features will give you the most experience and knowledge.

These are just some examples of what I like to do on my local run to keep it fun and entertaining, I’m sure there are a ton more we could add; in the end, the most important is to have fun in the water and by doing so you are also working on your skills so that’s a great bonus! 

Have fun, be safe, and see you on the river!


All photos by Aleix Salvat