Local News

Jun 20, 2010 12:10 AM by Danielle Lerner

Cal Poly hosts Concrete Canoe National Championships at Lopez Lake

Hundreds of civil engineering students from across the U.S. and Canada have come to the Central Coast to prove that concrete can float.

Cal Poly is hosting the 23rd annual National Concrete Canoe Competition.

The big event took over Lopez Lake this weekend.

This year 22 schools are competing for scholarship money and bragging rights, and mother nature was not making things any easier.

Concrete canoes took over Lopez Lake Saturday as schools from all over the U.S. and Canada put their engineering skills to the test.

"It's definitely a big honor to be able to host," said Andrew Bruntun, a Cal Poly concrete canoe captain. "It's just a lot of excitement and a lot of fun that we all have here."

This is Cal Poly's first year hosting the national event and as it turns out, the mustangs have an international reputation.

"We're happy to spend time with other teams but we're predicting that San Luis Obispo Cal Poly is going to win," said Genevieve Asselin-Demers, who attends the Universite of Laval in Quebec City, Canada.

The strong winds delayed the competition for more than an hour and they proved to be too much for some.

Luckily the timed sprint and endurance races are just part of the event.

Teams are also judged on the boat's design.

"In a classroom theres a lot of formulas and stuff like that," said Bruntun. "There's no correct answer to our problem here of building a canoe, it has a unique solution that you can take many different approaches to."

Organizers say those approaches and solutions have real-world applications.

They are part of the overall effort to better prepare our future civil engineers.

"Learning that not everyone comes up with the same solution in the same way, but often times you get a better solution because you have more minds put together to solve the problem," said Kathy Caldwell, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Aside from the physical paddling competitions each team had to submit a paper and give a technical presentation.

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