Student Engineers Compete In Boulder For Best Concrete Canoe

Apr 5, 2019

We’ve all heard about a cardboard boat race, or perhaps a soapbox derby, but a concrete canoe race?

Student engineers from across the region will descend on Boulder Reservoir Saturday, April 6 to compete for the title of having the best and fastest concrete canoe. University of Colorado Boulder’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers is hosting the competition.

Teams must abide by certain rules and dimensions, factors for designing the concrete mix and certain reinforcements.

Mason Bell, co-captain of the CU concrete canoe team, said the competition is a chance for students to gain valuable, hands-on engineering experience.

“Working with professors, and working with faculty advisors, working with grad students on information and just expanding your knowledge beyond anything you can do in the classroom. So, it’s a really beneficial and super-fun activity to do,” he said.

Bell said the most memorable canoe was a three-segment canoe with a detachable middle section for a smaller paddler.

“That canoe actually got disqualified for not upholding the spirit of competition,” he said. “But it was such an innovative and interesting way to look at the canoe and saying, ‘Hey, we can take part of the canoe out.’ And it’s just that type of innovation that absolutely blows my mind that people can think of things like that.”

The winners will go on to compete in a national competition. Prizes and scholarships are awarded, along with special plaques.

The concrete canoe race will take place during the ASCE Rocky Mountain Regional Conference at the University of Colorado Boulder on Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m – 1 p.m.