A Solid Performance
The Cal Poly concrete canoe team’s bid to win its third straight national championship launched from its home turf last weekend, where the team finished first in the regional portion of the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) Concrete Canoe Competition.
As a result, the team will advance to the National Concrete Canoe Competition at the Florida Institute of Technology, June 6-8.
"It was a fun experience hosting the regional competition at our school," said project manager Mason Breipohl. "Having our display and presentation on campus gave us a chance to show our peers about the project and interest people that have never heard of the competition. We also receive amazing alumni support as a result of hosting at Cal Poly, with nearly 80 alumni and past concrete canoe captains in attendance."
Cal Poly’s team, which has won five times in the past decade, hosted the Pacific Southwest ASCE Student Conference, held April 3-6. The event, which included students from 19 western universities and colleges in four states, featured numerous technical and non-technical competitions.
While the concrete canoe team won first place in all seven of its events, the transportation and design build teams also won first place overall in their categories. During the event, Cal Poly teams placed in nine out of the 17 team competitions, winning first place in the overall conference.
The concrete canoe competition is the most visible and well known. The competition tests students’ ability to collaborate as a team while using engineering skills to design and construct a seaworthy canoe. Concrete canoes are created with a specialty mix of aggregates and cement that each team formulates to be light and strong. The competition included four categories: Design Paper, Oral Presentation, Final Product and several racing events.
Cal Poly’s team unveiled its 2019 canoe, Yggdrasil -- named after a mythical tree in Norse cosmology -- which was displayed with other team canoes on Dexter Lawn Thursday, April 4.
"The team captains met at the beginning of the year to discuss our goals and select a theme that aligned with these goals," Breipohl said. "We selected Yggdrasil as a unique theme that symbolizes unity and incorporates the shipbuilding craftsmanship of Norse/Viking culture."
Once the canoe was displayed, presentations followed, and the canoe was put to the test on water the next day, when races were held at Lake Nacimiento.
With its victory, the team will advance to the nationals – also known at “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering” – held in Melbourne, Fla. There the Cal Poly crew will compete with 25 other teams from across the country.
"According to the rules, we are not allowed to work on the final canoe between regionals and nationals," Breipohl said. "However, we will use the feedback we got to improve our design paper, oral presentation, and paddling."
Cal Poly is in the midst of an impressive run, having won the nationals in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018.