Cal Poly Concrete Canoe Wins Big

National Concrete Canoe Championship claimed by Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF. After putting academic and athletic skills to the test in a grueling three-day battle at the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 23rd annual National Concrete Canoe Competition, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo has claimed its first ever national title. The school’s win, in its 170-pound, white canoe, the Amazona, also marks the first time that a school has hosted and won the championship simultaneously.

Throughout the year, teams of civil engineering students from across the country and Canada logged thousands of hours researching, designing and constructing their concrete canoes in search of the winning combination of creativity, knowledge and teamwork. After coming out on top in regional competitions throughout the spring, the best and brightest from 22 top engineering schools matched wits and skills in the national finals.

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo’s closest competitors were the University of Nevada-Reno and École de technologie supérieure (Montréal). The University of Nevada-Reno paddled into second place with its 230-pound, white, amber and blue canoe, the Battle Born; and École de technologie supérieure finished a close third with its 180-pound, white, black and brown canoe, the Montferrand. For the top finishes, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, the University of Nevada-Reno and École de technologie supérieure earned $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 in scholarship money, respectively.

2010 ranking:
Rank School (Canoe Name)
1st  California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Amazona)
2nd  University of Nevada-Reno (Battle Born)
3rd  École de technologie supérieure (Montferrand)
4th  Michigan Technological University (Yooper)
5th  University of Wisconsin-Madison (Centennial)
6th  The University of Alabama in Huntsville (Supercharger)
7th  Université Laval (The Norseman)
8th  San Jose State University (Orion)
9th  University of Akron (Lockkeeper)
10th  University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (Hess’s Warning)
11th  New Mexico State University (Billy the Kid)
12th  University of Washington (Tahoma)
13th  University of Wisconsin-Platteville (Flying Dutchman)
14th  Clemson University (Terra Amicus)
15th  University of Houston (Steer Clear)
16th  University of California, Los Angeles (Premiere)
17th (tie)  Fairmont State University (The Privateer); Louisiana Tech University (Deuces Wild); Rutgers The State University of New Jersey (Orca); Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (Rock ‘n Row); The University of Alabama (Spirit of 1831); University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (Space Bulls)

The competition is comprised of both academic and athletic events, and the scores are divided into four components which are each worth 25 percent of the team’s final score. Students write a paper detailing the design and construction of their canoe and then give an oral presentation on their year-long effort. They are also judged on their final product, the canoe, and their accompanying display, which further explains their design process. Finally, they put their canoe through the paces in a series of five race events-men’s and women’s slalom/endurance races and men’s, women’s and co-ed sprint races.

The National Concrete Canoe Competition was made possible by sponsorships from World of Concrete, Baker Concrete Construction, U.S. Silica. Holcim and Flatiron.

For more information on the competition, including downloadable, high-resolution photos, race results and event details, please visit

Reprinted with permission from Civil + Structural Engineer.