ASCE 2021 Virtual Concrete Canoe Competition+ fields of qualifying schools set, ready for June

Chandelle Takahashi and her civil engineering classmates had said their goodbyes.

She graduated this month from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and was starting to make plans for her life’s next phase – work and graduate school.

Then the message came in. The UH Mānoa concrete canoe team had qualified as a wildcard for the ASCE Society-wide competition next month. And just like that, Takahashi and her fellow teammates are happily back together.

“I think we were shock because receiving the wildcard was up in the air,” Takahashi, S.M.ASCE, said. “But after we got over the shock, we were really excited, and we are looking forward to representing our college and all of the hard work that our team and past captains have put into this project.”

UH Mānoa is one of 23 schools that qualified to compete in the 2021 Society-wide concrete canoe competition, hosted online by ASCE and the University of Wisconsin–Platteville as part of the ASCE 2021 Virtual Concrete Canoe Competition+, a weekend of student activities and competitions June 25-27.

Eighteen schools qualified automatically this spring by winning the concrete canoe competitions at their respective student conferences. The five wildcard teams were selected randomly among schools that met certain benchmarks for student chapter excellence.

The UH Mānoa students were thrilled to have finished second in the concrete canoe competition at the Pacific Southwest Conference. The wildcard draw is a bonus.

“”It’s exciting to see how far we can go, how far we can push ourselves, and what we can learn from the other teams,” Takahashi said. “I think what really helped us this year was stepping outside of the box and reevaluating how to run this project during these unprecedented times.”

The ASCE 2020 Concrete Canoe Competition was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s will be the first in a virtual format. While this means canoes won’t race, teams will be judged on their oral presentations, technical proposals, and enhanced focus area reports that allow them to add an inventive element that adds value to the overall project.

The UH Mānoa concrete canoe boasts a name and theme befitting the challenging year all the students have persevered through.

“We named it ‘Hōkūpaʻa,’ which is North Star,” said Takahashi, who also thanked both the chapter’s current faculty advisor Oceana Francis, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, and former longtime adviser Roger Babcock, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE.

“We thought it was really fitting for this year, because there were many rough waters through the pandemic. But what’s important is keeping the integrity of the project and the momentum for future years. So we were always looking for that North Star to keep us grounded and keep ourselves on track despite everything that happened around us.”

The qualifying teams for the Society-wide Concrete Canoe Competition are:

  • Clemson University (Carolinas Conference)
  • Arkansas State University (Deep South Conference)
  • Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering (India Conference)
  • New York University Tandon School of Engineering (Metropolitan Conference)
  • Drexel University (Mid-Atlantic Conference)
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale (Mid-Continent Conference)
  • Tongji University (Mid-Pacific Conference)
  • University of Iowa (Midwest Conference)
  • University of Connecticut (New England Conference)
  • University of Michigan (North Central Conference)
  • Youngstown State University (Ohio Valley Conference)
  • University of Washington (Pacific Northwest Conference)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (Pacific Southwest Conference)
  • Colorado School of Mines (Rocky Mountain Conference)
  • University of Florida (Southeast Conference)
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey (Texas-Mexico Conference)
  • University at Buffalo, SUNY (Upstate New York Conference)
  • Virginia Tech (Virginias Conference)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Wildcard, Carolinas Conference)
  • Western Kentucky University (Wildcard, Ohio Valley Conference)
  • University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (Wildcard, Pacific Southwest Conference)
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Wildcard, Southeast Conference)
  • Texas A&M University (Wildcard, Texas-Mexico Conference)

The ASCE 2021 Virtual Concrete Canoe Competition+ also features the ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition and the ASCE Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute Surveying Competition.

The qualifying teams for the Sustainable Solutions Competition are:

  • Louisiana Tech University (Deep South Conference)
  • Bradley University (Great Lakes Conference)
  • Bannari Amman Institute of Technology (India Conference)
  • Hohai University (Mid-Pacific Conference)
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Southeast Conference)
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Texas-Mexico Conference)

The qualifying teams for the UESI Surveying Competition are:

  • University of Georgia (Carolinas Conference)
  • Christian Brothers University (Deep South Conference)
  • Bradley University (Great Lakes Conference)
  • Rashtreeya Vidyalaya College of Engineering (India Conference)
  • Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (Ohio Valley Conference)
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Pacific Southwest Conference)
  • Colorado School of Mines (Rocky Mountain Conference)
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Southeast Conference)
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Texas-Mexico Conference)
  • Fairmont State University (Virginias Conference)

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  1. I have fond memories of concrete canoe races in the early 70’s during my time at Notre Dame. I think we even hosted one year. As a personal project one year I toyed with building a boat on the beach at St Joe Lake on the campus. The one you see when the Blimp photographs Touchdown Jesus at the football games.

    So I mounded up a a bunch of wet sand on the beach in the shape of a canoe, put some visquine over it, some chicken wire mesh, and mixed some quick set concrete on a sheet of plywood using buckets of lake water. Too much of a task for one person, but a team of students could do that in the future. A separate division, the day before the traditional canoe race, then let cure overnight. Maybe not even race, but just to see if you can make it float. My second senior year I did a 22′ ferrocement sailboat design, and even lofted the plug (drew it full size) constructed the formwork and wired with 5 layers of chicken wire. Did it in the old Notre Dame Fieldhouse, that had been taken over by the art department. The night before concrete it looked great! Trouble was, that by that time it was the end of the semester, and the weekend before finals. Even plying my fellow CE’s with promises of pizza and beer only yielded 2 helpers, for a 22′ concrete hull. Note to students, no matter how tired, hose out the mixer! I spent a week the next semester chipping concrete out of it. Oops. Cool thing was I had these holes that needed patching. My prof got me a gallon of donated Sikadur Epoxy. This was 1975. Way before it was commonly used for boats or for bonding concrete. I have spent a good portion of my career as a yacht designer up to and including doing engineering for the America’s Cup. U of Michigan did use epoxy on one of their canoes though. They had an olympic canoeist as a prof. So they took a fiberglass canoe mold, and used epoxy concrete with a fiberglass fabric. I think it was outlawed the next year or put into a high performance division to separate it out from the traditional chicken wire ferro-cement canoes. Cheers and good luck to all!


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