Students challenged to create, race concrete canoes

Posted at 8:43 PM, Apr 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-06 22:43:21-04

LOGAN, Utah -- Civil engineering students from 14 universities gathered in Logan this weekend to participate in a regional Concrete Canoe Competition.

At the event, teams of students are challenged to design and build a canoe made of concrete and then enter it into the race. The races are a part of the ASCE Rocky Mountain Student Conference.

The canoes are judged on four, equally weighted categories: a technical report, an oral presentation, the final product and the five canoe races, according to a press release from Utah State University.

Mitch Dabling is the captain of USU’s canoe team, and he said the unusual exercise will help them prepare for the future.

"One of the coolest things is it prepares us to be engineers in the real world,” he said. “We won’t be asked to build a concrete canoe probably again, but we will be asked to do some crazy things, and it teaches us how to do that and stretch the boundary of what we think is possible."

In the press release, Dabling said creating the canoe is a very lengthy process.

“We have been working on the project since the beginning of the school year in August,” he said. “Our 26-member team has invested more than 1,650 hours thus far.”

The Concrete Canoe Competition is one of the oldest civil engineering competitions in the country. Utah State University has won the past two regional competitions for the event. The winner of the regional event moves on to a national competition, where they compete for a monetary reward.