Concrete Canoe

The ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition tasks teams at universities around the country to design, build, and race a canoe made out of reinforced concrete. What makes this competition unique is the combination of skills and disciplines it requires. Canoes are scored based on the following criteria: Design Paper, Final Product, Presentation, and finally, the races. Each of these carry equal weight in the final scoring, which means the USC Concrete Canoe team needs to be not only a group of engineers, but also writers, athletes and artists.

2014 Concrete Canoe Paddling Team.
2014 Concrete Canoe Paddling Team.

For detailed information about our current and past concrete canoes, check out the Concrete Canoe Team Showcase, or if you would like more information, feel free to shoot us an email at

During the first semester we focus heavily on our structural and concrete mix design. The structures team performs analysis to determine the strength requirements of the canoe, which is then used to create and tweak the concrete mix design. Once the design for the concrete and reinforcement is complete, it is placed into a mold in January and allowed to cure for a month. After that we begin to furiously stain, paint and seal the canoe according to our aesthetic design, and prepare it for competition at PSWC. In addition to all of our work on the canoe, we hold paddling practices every Sunday morning!

Our 2015 Men’s Endurance team paddles through the slalom course.

Since there are so many aspects to this competition, there are plenty of different ways to get involved with Concrete Canoe. Just come to a meeting and tell us what you’re interested in. Whether you’re looking for a hands-on engineering experience, an artistic outlet, or a workout, there’s a place for you in the organization. All ages and majors are welcome to join, and no experience is necessary. The only skill needed to join Concrete Canoe is the willingness to learn.

Canoe Sub-teams

The canoe team works in sub-teams for the fall semester to help make our work as efficient as possible and to facilitate everyone focusing on their areas of interest. No experience is required to join any of the teams, and most members join multiple!


The aesthetics team is in charge of picking a theme, colors, the canoe’s graphic design, the canoe stands, the canoe display board and paper graphics, shirts, and everything else design-oriented. Perfect for building science majors and anyone else interested in design!


The structures team is responsible for developing the shape of the canoe’s hull and performing structural analysis to determine the minimum concrete strength and the weak points in the canoe. Perfect for Civil Engineering (Structural) majors, and anyone interested in Structural Engineering.


The construction team is in charge of developing and testing canoe construction methods to ensure the highest possible workmanship and build quality.

Mix Design

The mix design team creates a concrete mix design (ratio of all of the different materials) that is as light, strong, and workable as possible. Each week we’ll compression-strength-test the previous mix design, make adjustments, and create another batch of concrete with the new mix.


Every Sunday, we  practice paddling real canoes in preparation for the racing component of our concrete canoe competition. We’ll stop at In-n-Out Burger on the way back and return to campus by around 1:30.

Contact Us:

Check out our Canoe Blog for more information & regular updates!   Email us at if you have any questions or are interested in joining!

American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter at the University of Southern California

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