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University of California, Berkeley Wins National Concrete Canoe Competition
June 26, 2009

1st Place University of California, Berkeley. Photo by Gary Tramontina. Courtesy of the American Society of Civil Engineers

With equal parts technical skill, creativity and determination, the University of California, Berkeley captured the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering” at the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 22nd Annual National Concrete Canoe Competition, marking the end of three days of fierce competition and more than a year’s worth of blood, sweat and tears for the team. Their fifth title in the competition’s 22-year history and their first championship since 1992, Berkeley’s 230-pound, 20-foot-long canoe, the Bear Area, defeated entries from 21 other top engineering schools from across the country. Berkeley’s canoe featured multi-colored murals on a white background and their theme was the “San Francisco Bay Area”.

The races, both endurance and sprint combined, counted for only 25 percent of the teams’ overall score. The remaining 75 percent was based on a technical design paper that highlighted the planning, development, testing and construction of the team’s canoe; a formal oral presentation, in which the team had to detail their canoe’s design, construction, racing ability and other innovative features, as well as defend their choices to the judges during a question and answer session; and the end product-the final racing canoe and project display, which were scored on aesthetics and visual presentation.

Special awards were also given to two teams. The University of Texas at Tyler received the R. John Craig Memorial Award-given to the school that best exemplifies the spirit and cooperative ideals of the competition by placing first in the co-ed sprint race; and ETS was honored with the Tony P. Chrest Innovation Award-given in recognition of a team’s superior and creative use of technology and materials in the construction of their canoe.

For more information on the National Concrete Canoe Competition, including downloadable high-resolution photos, please visit

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