2008 ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition


It takes time, skill, innovation, and a dedicated team to design and build a concrete canoe--and then test it in a competition against peers. Every year, ASCE Student chapters at schools across North America tackle this unique challenge, applying their learning to a real-world project that is both educational and inspiring.

The 21st  Annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) National Concrete Canoe Competition took place in Montréal, Québec June 19-21, 2008. This year's host school, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) , provided facilities on their campus for the team's Academic presentations. The venue for the races (women's & men's Slalom/Endurance, and women's, men's & co-ed Sprint races) was ideal, and one that only Montreal could offer: the Olympic Basin (http://www.parcjeandrapeau.com/?tabid=304 )

22 teams (who qualify by winning their regional competition) competed in Montreal for the "America's Cup of Civil Engineering" this year. 25% of each team's final score is based on the design and construction pricinciples of their canoes, 25% on their technical design report, 25% on their business presentation to the judges, and 25% on their performance in five race events.

Bentley is pleased to help sponsor this event, and applauds all of the teams for inspiring designs and an exciting competition.

Here are the top 5 teams for 2008:

1) University of Nevada, Reno
2) University of California, Berkeley
3) École de technologie supérieure
4) California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
5) University of Florida

As a final note, these canoes can even be designed with an eye toward sustainability! Polytechnic University's team won the Spirit of Competition Award for incorporating green technology in their goals and therefore design. Their canoe, Osiris, included recycled glass (collected from their Brooklyn campus) as 60% of its composition.

For the full story, visit: http://content.asce.org/conferences/nccc2008/index.html

You can also read my article about last year's competition, in the BE Magazine archives (page 12-14): http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bemagazine/vol4issue3/

View larger versions of the images here, with descriptions, on my gallery page: http://communities.bentley.com/photos/laura_meiers_images/default.aspx

To see them in action, check out my video of the Co-Ed petite final race:



  • This is great!  I didn't know Bentley was involved in the concrete canoes... as I was graduating from Lafayette College, they were raising funds and interest to compete again for the first time in years.  Wish I'd been able to join in.

    PS ...and now they're being designed sustainably too??  Fabulous!

  • It was only three years ago that I was a part of the University of Alabama in Huntsville's ASCE Concrete Canoe team.  The first year I joined the team, we went to Nationals, 2004.  I was a paddler, the paddling coach, and the secretary of the student chapter the following year.  It definitely took a great amount of work and effort from all the members to make it happen.  It's amazing what can be thought of with the different technology we have today.  Every year the specs change and every year it's a greater challenge!  It was a blast seeing all the canoes and listening to the thought processes of the other students from different schools around the country.  I am looking forward to support UAH's Concrete Canoe team in the years to come.  May they rise again and claim victory at Nationals for the 6th time!!!

  • I remember the first time I heard about this event (ohhh... let's just say a few President's ago and leave it at that :), I thought "Canoes + Concrete = Float? Does not compute... does not compute..." but was amazed with the whole idea. BTW, the ASME (Mechanical... not Civil) used to have a similar Cardboard Canoe Race, but I don't think that survived the 90s.

  • Having been involved with concrete canoes in my younger days your positing brought back some good memories.