Clash of the Concrete Titans

20th Annual Concrete Canoe Competition Draws Hundreds of Civil Engineering Students to Seattle

Reston, Va.–For the past 20 years, civil engineering students from across the country have gathered each summer to defy logic and make the impossible a reality. And, like those that have gone before them, destiny for this year’s competitors is etched not in stone, but in concrete, as they take their place in history by paddling for victory in the 20th Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition.

After a year spent designing and building their water-worthy crafts, as well as battling their way through regional competitions, hundreds of civil engineering students from across the country will converge in Seattle, Wash., June 14-16, 2007, for the national competition, organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE). The best and brightest from 22 top engineering schools will match wits and skills in four categories–the aesthetics and structural integrity of their canoe; a technical design paper highlighting their planning, development, testing and construction; an academic presentation covering their canoe’s design, construction, racing ability and other innovative features; and, of course, the canoe races themselves–to determine who takes home the "America’s Cup of Civil Engineering."

"Engineers are problem solvers, but as they move into the professional world, the problems these young engineers will have to solve–energy, transportation, global water supply–are going to require ‘outside the box’ solutions" said American Society of Civil Engineers President William F. Marcuson, Ph.D., P.E., Hon.M.ASCE. "By giving them a task that seems impossible, Concrete Canoe challenges these students’ to use their natural creativity in applying the principles and methods they learned in the classroom. As a result, they will be better prepared for their future as the world’s problem solvers."

The event is being hosted by the University of Washington and made possible by the support of founding sponsor BASF Construction Chemicals, as well as the American Concrete Institute (ACI), Baker Construction, Inc., Bentley Systems Incorporated, Holcim Inc., Norchem, ICS Penetron, Pennoni Associates Inc., Propex Concrete Systems and U.S. Silica Company. New to this year’s competition, ASCE and ACI will also sponsor the winning Concrete Canoe team’s participation in the 30th Annual Dutch Concrete Canoe Challenge (BetonKanoRace), to be held in the Netherlands in September 2007.

The 2007 National Concrete Canoe Competition finalists are: California Polytechnic State University, Pomona; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; City College of New York; École de technologie supérieure; Fairmont State University; Michigan Technological University; Mississippi State University; New Mexico State University; North Carolina State University; Ohio Northern University; University of Florida; University of Houston; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Maine; University of Nevada-Reno; University of Oklahoma; University of Pittsburgh- Johnstown; University of Washington; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Wisconsin-Platteville; Washington State University; and Western Kentucky University.

The competition will kick off on Thursday, June 14, in the University of Washington’s Red Square as the teams’ canoes are weighed, measured and judged for aesthetics. The teams will then "swamp" their canoes in a tank of water to test their floatation ability. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a Corporate Career/Product Fair, where both national and regional sponsors discuss their products and employment opportunities. On Friday, June 15, the teams will deliver and defend their academic presentations–including outlines of the design, cost and construction of their canoe–in front of a panel of professional civil engineers.

Finally, on Saturday, June 16, as the sun rises over Sunset Beach on Lake Sammamish in Issaquah, Wash., the students will gather for the canoe races, where they will compete in men’s and women’s sprints and distance races, as well as a four-person-co-ed sprint. The races will begin at 8:00 a.m., run throughout the day, and conclude with the sprint race finals between 2 and 4 p.m. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., competition attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a Concrete Carnival Family Festival–a special feature of the 20th Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition–where kids and their families can try hands-on activities designed to teach basic science and engineering principals in a unique and engaging manner. The event will conclude with a banquet, where the winners will be announced and the competition awards distributed.

For more information on the National Concrete Canoe Competition please visit:

The National Concrete Canoe Competition is organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers and is funded by the generous support of BASF, with additional sponsorship provided by the American Concrete Institute, Baker Concrete Construction, Inc., Bentley Systems, Incorporated, Holcim (US) Inc., Norchem, ICS Penetron, Pennoni Associates Inc., Propex Concrete Systems and U.S. Silica Company. This year’s event is hosted by the University of Washington.