Nevada Upset Makes Waves In Montral

What might have appeared on that date as conventional boats were, in fact, concrete canoes propelled by top civil engineering students from across the U.S. and Canada

The sight of canoes in Montr»al’s Olympic Basin, while typically not surprising, was far from ordinary on June 21. What might have appeared on that date as conventional boats were, in fact, concrete canoes propelled by top civil engineering students from across the U.S. and Canada. The following day, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 21st Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition culminated in a first-place win for The University of Nevada, Reno. The Wolf Pack and its 19.5-ft.-long, 160-lb., blue and silver-stained white canoe bested competitors and vessels from 21 other engineering schools, ending the University of Wisconsin’s five-year reign, as it captured Nevada’s first national Concrete Canoe title.

The Silver and Blue team’s closest competitors during the June 20-22 event in Montr»al were the University of California-Berkeley, whose team crafted a 229-lb., 20-ft.-long canoe to seize second place; and, host school Öcole de technologie sup»rieure, advancing its 170-lb., 20-ft.-long Toutatis (a Celtic tribute) to third place. For their top finishes, the University of Nevada-Reno, the University of California-Berkeley, and Öcole de technologie sup»rieure earned $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 in scholarship money, respectively. Supporting contributors to the ASCE-organized competition included American Concrete Institute, BASF Construction Chemicals, and Holcim (US) Inc.

Combined endurance and sprint race results accounted for 25 percent of the teams’ overall score. The remaining 75 percent was awarded equally on the basis of a technical design paper detailing canoe plans, development, testing and construction; a formal oral presentation, involving explanation of the canoe’s design, construction, racing ability and innovative features, as well as defense of the team’s choices during a question and answer session with the judges; and, a project display, scored on aesthetics and visual presentation.

In addition, three teams were honored with Special awards. The University of Wisconsin-Madison received the R. John Craig Memorial Award for exemplifying the competition’s spirit and cooperative ideals by placing first in the co-ed sprint race. The Tony P. Chrest Innovation Award, recognizing superior and creative use of technology and materials in canoe construction, was given to Drexel University. For the use of basic design principles in unconventional applications, the University of Florida garnered the American Concrete Institute Excellence in Concrete Canoe Design Award. Given the innovative thinking we’ve seen in Montr»al, notes ASCE President David Mongan, I can’t wait to see what’s to come from these students in the future as they begin their professional careers.


The 2008 ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition teams in order of final rank are:

  1. University of Nevada, Reno
  2. University of California, Berkeley
  3. Öcole de technologie sup»rieure
  4. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  5. University of Florida
  6. University of Wisconsin – Madison
  7. Clemson University
  8. Michigan Technological Univ.
  9. University of California, Los Angeles
  10. Univ. of Wisconsin-Platteville
  11. Polytechnic University
  12. Drexel University
  13. Florida Institute of Technology
  14. University of Houston
  15. Youngstown State University
  16. University of Maine
  17. University of Washington
  18. U.S. Air Force Academy
  19. Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  20. Fairmont State University
  21. Louisiana Tech University
  22. Milwaukee School of Engineering