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Really want to go down the Tallulah Gorge in the northeast corner of Georgia. I have a good 2 years under my belt, practically lived on a class 2 river last summer. I've managed many class 3 rapids with no difficulty, but I'm looking at buying an actual whitewater boat.

Besides getting used to the new boat, what should I do to better prepare myself for a much more exciting river without jumping off the deep end and crossing my fingers?
 

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The Tallulah is extremely committing, and the F-up factor is huge. I helped extract a woman from there with four broken bones in her legs :( Go paddle the Chattooga and Ocoee about 50 times each, then maybe Tallulah! It's not worth ruining others paddlers days by being "that guy".
 

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If you have to ask you are in deep trouble . First paddle with boaters above your sikills and they can tell you what river in your area to run . They can bring you up threw the levels until you are ready .
Good boaters are always looking for fresh meat - good luck
 

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Go on a commerical raft trip down that river . Even then it is a real pucker river.
then you will have the answer you are looking for.
 

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I was going to say the same thing. It's only the new boaters who ask the question. I was way over confident....right up until I had my ass handed to me a couple times. But that's a good thing because you learn respect for the river. Work on hard moves on easier rivers. While that may sound stupid, it'll click when you need it to. Don't let your ego get you hurt....and I mean no offense just giving you a fair perspective.
 

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I don't think they run commercial trips on the Tallulah.

Anyway, sorry for my sarcastic "shaft float" response. You have gotten some good replies. If you are close to the Ocoee get some good instruction on it and run the shit out of it. And as others have said try to find a good crew to boat with. With the amazing amount of whitewater in your area there is no need to rush into the Tallulah. It will always be there later.
 

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paddle a LOT.
right now it sounds like you are a class II to III paddler.
Do more III's and then go for some IV-
never forget it is a progression not a jump.

the other thing a recommend is build a solid crew that knows you and your abilities as well as you knowing them and theirs. Never underestimate the importance of the crew you paddle with and are a part of.
 

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if your a SOLID class 3 boater, you need to also have-bombproof combat roll from both sides, excellent low and high brace, the ability to change direction and eddy out on a dime, great river reading skills, and above all else the ability to stay calm and apply those skills in a unforgiving and violent enviroment. class 5 isnt a joke, i paddle it all and 3 to me is a snooze fest. the difference from 3 to 5 is massive. a mistake in a class 3 is easily fixed, a roll , a bruise, maybe at worst a swim. a mistake or a missed line in 5 can cost you your life. progress from class to class and master each one. 10 rolls in a class 4 dosent mean you did it- no rolls means you did. paddle with boaters better than you and learn everything you can. have fun !!
 

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You might be able to reach your goal of paddling the Tallulah Gorge in time for the November releases this year. You will have to get a lot of days on the water though. You have plenty of time to hit easier whitewater and progress slowly through the spring and summer. Hit your class II runs a lot until you make them class III, then once you get comfortable on III start making harder moves making it III+ then start dabbling in some IV and so on. Move up to the next step once you feel solid on the sections of river you are running at the time. If you scare yourself or you have an issue take a step back for a couple days/weeks and work on what you were screwing up on easier less demanding water. Hook up with a crew that might have the same goals and start working towards them together. Stay safe. You will know when you are ready to take the next step. And remember using you brain is the best piece of safety gear you have on you!

Edit: also if you don't feel comfortable to jump on that run this season, there is always next. I portaged a drop on a run here 30 times at least over the past two years until I felt comfortable to run it.
 

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Lots of good advice here. I'll add three things:
1. People talk about seasons or years on the river. What's more important is days on the river. If guy A paddles 10 days a year for 10 years he has 100 days. If guy B paddles 100 days a year for ten years he has 1,000 days. Who do you think is going to be the better paddler? If you want to make the move to class V in a year - focus on the number of days you get on the river.
2. Quality. There is a big difference between just running a section and practicing critical skills throughout a day on the river. While running the same section you could say hit ten eddies and avoid surfing all day. Or you could hit 100 eddies (including tiny hard to catch ones) and surf every chance you get. You could do 0 practice rolls, or you could practice both onside and offside rolls and braces. You can practice river wide ferries, throw bagging, setting up a z-drag, etc. You get a lot more out of quality practice while on the river than just running it.
3. Variety. Running as many different rivers as you can fit into your schedule will also help a lot. Every rapid is different, rivers have different characteristics, and challenging yourself on incrementally harder rivers will help you progress faster.
 

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The move from class IV to Class V is move of the mind.....if you're good and confident in Class IV you probably have the skills. What you need for class V is commitment, confidence, flexibility, adaptability, and most of all total focus. The most important thing is to be able to look at a drop and accurately evaluate what it's going to take to get through the drop and be willing to put your boat on your shoulder and take a walk.
 

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Yo shred, living on a class 2 implies that you were able to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sitting on your spray deck while you were boating..... Class 4-5 means you're not necessarily hungry at the moment....class five means you ate yesterday.... Do good and try hard on whatever "CLASS" you find yourself in.... Like somebody said, don't be that guy.... But we've all been that guy before.....Milozadik wishecouldski 420 CB
 
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