No need to memorize these, you will pick them up very quickly by watching what the people around you are doing.
PADDLES UP: prepare to paddle, holding paddle blade just above water.
TAKE IT AWAY: begin paddling. Normally this is only used following the “paddles up” command.
LET IT RIDE: stop paddling and let the boat coast.
HOLD WATER or HOLD THE BOAT: hold paddle blade in the water to stop the boat. This is sometimes used for an emergency stop. If you only memorize one command in advance, it should be this one.
BRACE THE BOAT: hold paddle blade in the water, turned horizontal so that the boat will not roll as quickly. Normally used when paddlers are changing position in the boat.
BACK PADDLE: paddle in reverse.
DRAW LEFT or DRAW RIGHT: paddle to produce side thrust, by reaching out and paddling in the direction called. Paddlers on the opposite side lean out to help balance. For example, for the “draw left” command, paddlers on the left side reach out and paddle to pull the boat to the left, while paddlers on the right side lean out to the right for balance.
PADDLES ON THE GUN’L: a rest position, holding the paddle horizontal and resting on the edge of the boat with the blade out.
ATTENTION PLEASE: prepares for a race start, blade in the water. This is normally used following a “paddles up” command.
GO: start paddling for a race start. This is only used after the “attention please” command.
Most commands can be modified by specifying the row or side that the command applies to, e.g. “front three draw left, back three draw right” will rotate the boat counter-clockwise. A similar result can be obtained with “left side back-paddle, right side forward paddle.”
Paddle commands can also be modified for power level and for the number of strokes desired, e.g. “take it away light, three strokes” for a short burst at low power. “take it away 50 per cent, three strokes” has the same meaning. Or “first five rows, take it away three strokes” to have only half the paddlers working, another way of achieving the same effect on the boat.