River reading is a crucial boating skill. These days, there is an unfortunate tendency of new boaters blindly following lead boaters down streams when they "Step It Up". If the lead boater flips or catches an eddy, those following lack the skills to determine their own path and this can be quite dangerous. A common trait of solid intermediates is the ability to break rapids down via eddy hopping. Never leave your present eddy until you see a clean path too your next eddy. If this is not possible, head to shore to shore scout. River reading takes time to master but certainly will keep you out of harm's way and make boating a great deal more fun.