Category Archives: Concrete Canoe

PSWC 2017: Results

This year, the Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) was hosted by UC Irvine. USC ASCE participated in nearly every design competition offered. For full results, click here.

Don’t be too worried! This year, the organization ran into many unforeseen complications which significantly hindered the progress of many design teams.

Hey, USC ASCE, be proud of what you do. Take pride in what you work for. You did all this on your own, and you can personally take the credit for all the experience you gained this semester!

For an overview of USC ASCE, look below.

Overall: 7th

  • Concrete Frisbee: 3rd
  • Environmental: 4th
  • Concrete Canoe: 7th
  • Construction: 5th
  • Surveying: 5th
  • Transportation: 6th

  • Steel Bridge: DQ
  • Geowall: participated
  • Tech Paper: participated
  • Soccer: participated
  • Scavenger Hunt: participated
  • Kan Jam: participated
  • Tug Of War: participated
  • Volleyball: participated
  • Timber Towers: participated
  • Mystery Event: participated
  • Impromptu: participated







Pour Day 2017

Pour Day! Where both canoes and friendships are meticulously crafted and the inevitable opportunity to separate fibers is ever present. This year, USC ASCE set forth their vision to create this year’s canoe. Inspired by the beauty of nature as well as what the struggles overcome, the team chose Ascent as this year’s theme. 


From dry mixing those elusive glass bubbles to placing concrete mix batch #18, there were plenty of tasks to go around. As usual, the always on-point canoe playlist was blaring throughout the corridors of KAP basement. For some, it was their final pour day, for others, a new fascination with concrete canoes emerged.

Feel free to take a look at the sights and sounds of Pour Day 2017!

Very instructional.



Practice Pour Day 2016

Trays and cups of admixture lay undisturbed. The calm before the storm.

As the Fall Semester drew to a close, so did the first half of preparing for concrete canoe. Members, new and old, spent the day learning how to measure, mix, and place in preparation for the real deal later in January. It is always good to put new ideas to the test before committing to the full project so crucial tests can be performed and adjustments can be made. All the contributions made on Practice Pour Day defined how the actual run will progress on January 28.

Six Concrete Canoes

This poem is a reflection on our past four years of concrete canoes. A song form is also in progress.

Six concrete canoes float
   on the water
Six concrete canoes rest
   out on the grass
Four raced, were paddled boldly
   four concrete canoes raced
Battled fiercely, but never victorious.

Every last pound mixed and placed by hand
   built by hand
Countless hours endless energy;
   night after night, worked through the night
Covered in concrete, but building six canoes.

Six concrete canoes float
   in the water
Six concrete canoes rest
   out on the grass
Two broken, one beautiful and bright, and colorful;
   two demolished were unwanted
Two more concrete canoes remain;
   but each new year, a new canoe
So these soon will be gone too;
   for now six concrete canoes.

Final Prep for PSWC 2016

All of our design teams are busy making final preparations for PSWC 2016. With less than a week before conference, the KAP basement is full of activity from everyone from steel bridge working on final fabrication and assembly, concrete canoe preparing the stands, section, and display table, geotech building their box, surveying practicing, and environmental finishing their system. We’re excited to showcase our work in Long Beach next week!

The environmental team work on their filtering system.
The environmental team works on their filtering system.
The concrete canoe team tests out their new, reusable folding wood canoe stands.
The concrete canoe team tests out their new, reusable folding wood canoe stands.
Geotech captain Marissa measures the geowall box.
Geotech captain Marissa measures the geowall box.
Steel bridge team members discuss how to manufacture a part.
Steel bridge team members discuss how to manufacture a part.
Steel bridge members at work.
Steel bridge members at work.
The steel bridge box where pieces are transported.
The steel bridge box where pieces are transported.
The steel bridge team takes a brief break to pose for a photo.
The steel bridge team takes a brief break to pose for a photo.
Pieces of the Steel Bridge are laid out.
Pieces of the Steel Bridge are laid out.
Surveying team members practice in E-Quad.
Surveying team members practice in E-Quad.

Pour Day 2016

I first joined concrete canoe my sophomore year because I was drawn to the aesthetic component of designing and staining the canoe. Little did I know how much of a large part of my time at USC concrete canoe would become. Two and a half years and multiple canoes later, I’ve successfully finished my fifth–and hopefully final–pour day. The feeling is a little bittersweet, but first and foremost, my co-captain Karina and I would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who showed up to help us out (this is the first year that the entire ASCE eboard came out!). We made a few changes in the weeks between our first and second pour days, and the small alterations really made a huge difference in the process and final product.

This year, our canoe is named That ’70s Canoe, and aptly displays the vibe and colorful culture of the 1970s. The rule change this year banned the use of stains, so we incorporated colors in our own way by creating a tie-dye design and using precast concrete tiles to display a rainbow mosaic peace sign and flowers in the interior of the canoe. The pour day process to get all of our aesthetic components done was a long one–captains showed up to KAP at 8AM with the rest of the team arriving around 9AM, and we covered the canoe to wet cure at 12AM. There were a lot of ups and downs throughout the day, but everyone pushed ahead, and we were able to successfully complete the process, with the remaining members topping the night off with some celebratory midnight ice cream sundaes!
As a graduating senior, I’ve been heavily involved in 5 pour days now, and although it is a rigorous process, it feels a little strange to have completed the last one. Concrete canoe has taken up a huge chunk of my free time for the past two and a half years, but it has allowed me to meet some super amazing people and some of my best friends (that can also help me with my homework). I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished so far this year, and I can’t wait for the months to come and for PSWC!

Concrete Canoe December 2015 Update

The first half of Concrete Canoe 2015-2016 is officially over! We’re really excited about all of the new members that got involved this semester, and can proudly say that we poured our practice canoe! We spent the first Saturday after classes ended working hard in the KAP basement to mix, pigment, and place concrete to create a full-scale practice canoe. With all of the rule changes and new ideas we’re trying this year, we wanted to practice some techniques before pouring the real canoe for competition! Not to mention, the practice canoe will give our paddlers a great chance to paddle in the canoe they’ll be racing in just 3 short months at PSWC. We had a group of great people helping out at practice pour day (warmest thanks to those who showed up!), and we’re all super excited to see what our colored concrete looks like once we de-mold the canoe when we get back to school in January!

Overall, it has been a great semester full of great ideas and great people, and we’re looking forward to see what next semester has in store for us!

Erin Yamashita
USC ASCE Concrete Canoe Captain

Concrete Canoe October 2015 Update

ASCE’s Concrete Canoe design is off to a great start! We are excited about all the new members that have joined and consistently come to our meetings! Each week we hold sub team meetings for structures, aesthetics, mix design and construction in addition to our paddling practices every Sunday.

This year there have been some major changes in the rules for the competition, as a result altering our approach to the canoe design. The most significant change is that we are no longer able to use any type of paint or stains on the canoe, therefore we must pigment the concrete itself in order to create the design. In the past couple of weeks, aesthetics has finalized the theme for this year’s concrete canoe and presentation display, which we are excited to announce as DiSCo.

After determining the preliminary design for the actual canoe, the team has begun to research into different potential pigments we can use to achieve the look we want. Structures has been a combination of an introduction to statics for the younger members who have not been exposed to those concepts yet, as well as solving for the moment and shear for various required loading cases.

The mix design sub team started off by going over a comprehensive review of the components of a concrete mix followed by diving into making mixes every week. We have come closer to deciding the final mixes we plan on using for the different structural layers and now we are focusing on the optimal way to integrate the pigment into the mix. Additionally, we are testing different techniques to depict the desired graphics on the canoe, so the mix design and construction sub-teams have been working on producing these elements and testing their construction and application methods. 

Even with the new challenges the team is faced with this year, we are confident that we will once again produce a successful concrete canoe and have fun while doing it!