We took last year’s (2014) concrete canoe, DiSCovery II, out for a spin this weekend as we finalize our training for the canoe races at PSWC 2015. While this year’s canoe (Jurassic) is slightly different, we chose to keep the design very similar so that we could explore improvements to our paddling technique rather than making drastic changes.
The day started out a bit rough when we realized that we ordered the wrong sized UHaul to take the canoe to the beach. Note for the future: concrete canoes typically require at least a 22′ UHaul; don’t try fitting a 19′ canoe into a 20′ UHaul (bed length ~17′).
Once we made it, we set up buoys and practiced in DiSCovery II alongside the regular (plastic) practice canoes that we borrow from Newport Aquatic Center. All of our race teams practiced together, trying new techniques and making adjustments as needed to get comfortable with paddling in a concrete canoe.
We were surprised to realize that our concrete canoe is capable of being paddled much more quickly than the real canes we usually practice with. Overall we had a great practice and are looking forward to PSWC in less than two weeks!
My name is Ethan Davidson, and I am one of the Concrete Canoe captains this year. I head up the construction and structures sub-teams which have been working hard in preparation for PSWC. Here is a look at some of the things construction has been doing this semester and what we’re working towards.
Our construction sub-team is busy testing mold removal techniques to be used in the construction process of our canoe which is planned tentatively for the end of January. We also just began construction on our canoe stands which will be used for displaying our canoe during competition, and we just finished a practice pour day where we mixed, poured, and cured a section of our canoe to practice all the techniques we will be using during the real pour day in January. A few weeks ago we also got together to destroy Discovery I (one of last year’s canoes) in order to make room for our new construction projects.
If you’re at all interested in learning more about concrete canoe you should come out on Fridays at 3pm to KAP basement to help out, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Erin, and Ethan and I are super excited to be concrete canoe captains this year! Along with our project manager, Tyler, we can’t wait to meet our members and start building an amazing canoe!
The canoe team is a great way to get involved in ASCE, hang out with some awesome people, and do some fun, hands-on engineering. Through concrete canoe, I was able to meet and become better friends with a lot my fellow civil engineers. We spent a lot of time together, and bonded over two pour days, canoe sanding, paddling practices, and late night finishing right before leaving for San Diego. All of this culminated in one of the most rewarding moments–USC ASCE winning third place overall at PSWC!
If you’re interested in joining the concrete canoe team, we’ll be having our first meeting this Friday, September 12 at 2PM. We’ll be gathering in the KAP lobby and finding a room from there. If you can’t make it out on Friday and want to be added to the mailing list or have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to talk to anyone and keep everyone posted on our upcoming sub-team meetings and paddling practices.
Here’s a video of our co-ed sprint heat from the canoe races at PSWC 2014, courtesy of captain Jake’s parents. This was the first heat we’ve won in years! Our team took advantage of DiSCovery II’s straight speed and their extensive preparation on their way to qualify for the small final. The coed race consists of two down-and-back laps for a total distance of 400 meters.
I’ll start off by putting this into perspective and context. Historically, USC ASCE typically places top-three in one or two events at PSWC. Our 18-school conference, combined with perennial powerhouses in the concrete canoe competition, make our conference one of the most competitive of the 15 in the country.
Last year, our only victory, albeit significant, was our first-place environmental win. This year, going into the awards banquet we didn’t expect much, but were proud of our collective effort.
We started out the awards banquet with a 1st place victory in the Scavenger Hunt competition. Despite having a team less than half the size of many other schools, our focus and determination led us to win one of the most fun events, finding cool spots and landmarks around SDSU’s campus and throughout San Diego.
Steel Bridge won 3rd place in construction speed, completing the construction of their bridge in roughly 18 minutes. They also won 3rd in bridge lightness. Our team ended up placing 3rd overall, earning an invitation to the AISC/ASCE National Steel Bridge Competition in Akron, OH!
Last year, our Concrete Canoe team had their first canoe to successfully survive every race in three years, but placed 14th overall. Despite deductions in the oral presentation and final product categories due to technicalities, the Concrete Canoe team placed 6th overall and won 3rd in design paper!
Our paddling team also did well, placing 7th overall. Highlights included our women’s slalom team placing sixth, our 4-person co-ed team winning their heat, and our men’s sprint team winning the small final by less than a second to place 6th, after missing the big final qualification by only a second.
Considering where we were just a year ago, and the fact that most of this year’s USC ASCE PSWC team were first-time attendees, all of these results are spectacular. But as we were celebrating our successes, we won an award that we never expected: 3rd place overall for the entire conference!
The overall conference rank is determined by summing all of the weighted points earned for each event, including canoe and bridge, the smaller design teams, and the sports tournaments. To win, a school must be well-rounded, participate in every event, and fight to win individual games, even if they don’t win entire sports tournaments. USC ASCE has not placed this high in the overall conference rank since 1994. Our 3rd place finish would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our entire team.
Here’s the event placement breakdown that led to our 3rd-place overall finish:
This year, we proved that just because we have a smaller department, fewer resources, and less manpower than other schools doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful. Let’s celebrate our victories, analyze our weaknesses, and come back next year ready to take 1st!
At the PSWC Awards Banquet, all of the conference attendees gather for a nice dinner and to celebrate their victories at PSWC. We went in expecting to place top-three in maybe one of the smaller events. But we came out with our best year overall since 1994, placing 3rd overall thanks to the hard work of our entire team. Check out the details of our results here.