May 26, 2018

Concrete Canoe

The National Concrete Canoe Competition is undoubtedly the most important part of the SESC. It is worth the most points of any single competition when calculating overall rankings. Scheduling of events revolve around Concrete Canoe. The winners of this competition at the SESC go on to take part in the National competition, nicknamed "America's Cup of Civil Engineering." And, yes, it will float (...if designed properly).


The overall ranking is scored on four categories:
  • Design Paper
    • Technical paper describing the design, construction and overall management of the project
  • Canoe Presentation
    • Professional presentation to judges explaining the process of designing and building the concrete canoe
  • Product Display Product Display
    • Overall quality of the finished product, concrete samples, display board, cutaway section and canoe stands
  • Racing Performance
    • 5 races
      • Two men 200 meter sprint (100 m back and forth)
      • Two women 200 meter sprint (100 m back and forth)
      • Three men 600 meter slalom/endurance (100 m of slalom, 600 m total)
      • Three women 600 meter slalom/endurance (100 m of slalom, 600 m total)
      • Four person co-ed 200 meter sprint (two men, two women)

Canoe Racing

The rules vary from year to year, governing parameters of the canoe shape, properties of the concrete batch design and reinforcement, and many other factors in a highly detailed manner.

For more about the rules, history and other information, please see the ASCE NCCC Website.

Here is the University of Wisconsin-Madison's concrete canoe webpage. UW-Madison had a streak of 5 straight years winning the National competition before being dethroned in 2008 by University of Nevada, Reno. On the page is much useful information, including links to design papers of many good concrete canoes.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Concrete Canoe Website


UM ASCE has much recent experience in constructing concrete canoes. After a brief hiatus in 2005, UM concrete canoes made a comeback in 2006 with The U-Boat. 2007 brought about a beast of a canoe, The Brawl. The following year saw the Orange Bowl saying goodbye in more ways than one. Storm Surge allowed UM ASCE to break into the top ten in 2009. In 2010, La Fuerza held up to the competition and the next year M305 continued our upward climb. With The Heat in 2012, our best concrete canoe was made yet. As experience and resources grow, there is nothing but optimism for the 2013 competition.

Brawl Heat

Please see previous UM design papers and displays, especially the Storm Surge paper, which placed 4th. If you are interested in helping in this fun competition, please contact us and join the UM ASCE concrete canoe team.

Storm Surge