UC San Diego’s Concrete Canoe team competes every year in the National Concrete Canoe Competition hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The competition challenges students to design and build a lightweight, 20-foot long canoe out of concrete. A set of prescribed rules governs the design of the concrete and all other aspects of the competition. Students apply what they have learned in class and from other students to design and analyze the canoe, using programs such as Solidworks and SAP2000. They also gain hands-on experience by mixing and testing concrete, constructing the mold and reinforcement systems, applying the aesthetic designs, and ultimately fabricating the competition canoe.
The team competes against 17 other schools in the Pacific Southwest Conference. At PSWC, each team is judged in four categories: aesthetics, canoe races, an oral presentation, and a technical paper. The top teams move on to the national competition where they compete against other regional winners.