Paddling Commands

These are the commands you are likely to hear in the boat. It is ESSENTIAL to pay attention and respond to the commands given by the steerer, especially in rough water conditions.

These are "percentage" values (60%/80%/100%) indicating the amount of effort to be put into each stroke. Unless otherwise stated, all training runs should be done at a minimum of 80%. Of course percentages are relative (to each person) and we can't really measure this, but it's a matter of honor and respect to the rest of the boat to put in the appropriate amount of effort.

Attention/Paddles Up
Get into the "set-up" position, maintaining an A-Frame. This is the command given at the starting line, right before the race begins. It is ESSENTIAL to respond to this command immediately. In an actual race, you will have anywhere from 1-20 seconds between when this command is given and the race begins.

Back Paddle
Paddle backwards, in order to put the boat into "reverse". Maintain timing by looking towards the back of the boat and sync with the paddler sitting behind you.

This is the only time you will paddle with the blade NOT perpendicular to the direction the boat is facing. This command is directed only at one side/section of the boat (e.g. "Left Side Draw" or "Left-Front Draw"). When you hear this command, you should plant your paddle into the water, with the blade parallel to the side of the boat, 1 or 2 feet away from the boat; then "draw" or pull the paddle towards the boat. The purpose is to move the boat sideways, in order to get the boat positioned properly in the racing lane. This command is used often if there is a current in the water or a lot of cross-wind.

Feather the Boat
Extend the paddle into the water, with the blade parallel to the water. You should be holding onto the paddle firmly, and not simply float the paddle on top of the water. The paddles act as an extension of the boat, serving to increase the width of the boat, thus making it more stable and less tippy. This command is normally only used to steady the boat while people switch seats within the boat.

Head Up
Reminder to keep your head up and eyes forward. You need to be able to see the paddler(s) in front of you, in order to maintain the correct pace. Keeping your heap up also helps to expand your chest, allowing for better breathing.

Hold Water
Place your paddle into the water with the blade perpendicular to the boat. This intent is to use your paddle as a "brake" and stop the boat from moving either forward or backward.

Let it Run
Stop paddling and let the boat "run".

Light Paddle
Maintain the current pace, but apply very little power. You should be sitting more erect with no torso lean and no back/shoulder rotation. The power for the stroke should be coming from just your arms. This command is usually called at the end of a practice set or when coming in to dock.

Pace/Race Pace
This is the standard pace/rate (strokes per minute) which will be set for the duration of the race. This rate may be different from race to race. The coach(es) sometimes change the pace due to variances in the water condition, race distance and several other factors. It is the responsibility of the Pacers to set/maintain the pace. The rest of the boat must follow the rate set by the Pacers.

Power (5, 10, 20)
Apply extra power (110%) to your stroke for x number of strokes (e.g. Power5 = 5 strokes, Power10 = 10 strokes, etc). Do NOT change the pace of your stroke, just apply more effort/power to the "compression". At the end of the stated number of strokes, return to the original pace/power combination.

Ready Up
Make sure you have both hands on the paddle, and be ready to begin paddling at a moment's notice. This command is usually given right before "Attention".

This is the command to increase ("up") the current pace.