"2009 National Concrete Canoe Competition"
June 11th - 13th, 2009
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

University of California - Berkeley "Champion of Champions"

Berkeley's co-ed team  powers down the sprint course in pursuit of victory!

The University of California - Berkeley emerged victorious over 21 other teams at the 2009 National Concrete Canoe Competition... besting a field that included 4 previous U.S. and 2 Canadian National Champions.  The Bears now hold a record five national wins along with Team UAH and the Wisconsin Badgers. 

Berkeley’s canoe featured multi-colored murals on a white background.  
Their theme was the “San Francisco Bay Area”.

Neither rain, nor more rain, nor even more rain could dampen the spirits of these competitors. Despite the clouds, thunder and occasional lightning, the event held at Tuscaloosa’s Lake Nicol looked like an ordinary canoe race. The canoes these competitors were racing were far from ordinary though; in fact, the competitors themselves were anything but typical (see photo below... jag). They were civil engineering students from across the United States and Canada, and the canoes they were racing were made of concrete.  See:

"They Are the Champions, Concrete Canoe Champions, That Is," by Joan Buhrman and Anthony Reed of ASCE, June 13, 2009.

UAH's David Keeton (on drums) and Laval's Farnell Morisett (on bagpipes) join 
forces to serenade the troops during inclement weather while teams waited to resume racing.

2009 NCCC Coverage

The 2009 NCCC marked the 22nd anniversary of the national concrete canoe competition. The first place overall winner in each of 18 Conferences was invited to compete in the 2009 National Concrete Canoe Competition. In addition, if the first place Conference winner finished in the top five overall in the 2008 National Competition (University of Nevada, Reno, University of California - Berkeley, Ecole de Technologie Superieur, Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo, and the University of Florida)... the second place team was also invited to compete at nationals.  The host school (University of Alabama) opted to compete in 2010 and four second-place qualifiers were established, rounding the field out at 22 (see below).

The two newcomers in 2009 brought the number of schools that have participated at the national level to 110.  Point totals, spreadsheets, and statistics for the 2009 NCCC and all other national competitions can be found in "For the Record."

John Gilbert and Andrea Barnes covered the event for ConcreteCanoe.org.  Details on each team's performance including a description of their presentation, every question asked by the judges, commentary on their stint, photos of their final product, and more can be found via the links listed below.  Other competition photos are available courtesy of ASCE.  The University of Nevada-Reno posted a spreadsheet and the University of Wisconsin-Madison archived the top design reports.

Design reports (25% of score) and compliance certificates were due on May 13th.  These were evaluated prior to the competition.  UC-Berkeley won this category.

The final products (25% of score) were judged on The Quad, located on the UA campus, on Thursday, June 11th.  We photographed the canoes with as little clutter (participants, spectators, etc.) as possible to show exactly what each school had to offer.  Cal Poly-SLO won this category.

Cal Poly-SLO's "Vintage."

Oral presentations (25% of score) were delivered in the Morgan Auditorium located on the UA campus on Friday, June 12th.  We attended all of them and documented every question posed to the teams by the judges.  UC-Berkeley won this category.  

Races (25% of score) were held June 13th on Lake Nichol.  We were there and provided blow by blow coverage.  Nevada-Reno won this category.

Reno scores most race points with "Fusion."

According to ASCE: "With equal parts technical skill, creativity and determination, the University of California, Berkeley captured the ‘America’s Cup of Civil Engineering’ at the end of three days of fierce competition and more than a year’s worth of blood, sweat and tears for the team."

The judges' support team puts the Bears and "Bear Area" to the test while verifying the boat's dimensions.

2nd - ETS
3rd - California Polytechnic University - San Luis Obispo

ETS (left) and Cal Poly SLO (right) both called their boats "Vintage" but the teams had very different themes.

4th -  University of Florida
5th - University of Nevada - Reno

Florida prepares to transport their entry (left) while Reno gets ready for the flotation tank (right).

"2009 Vital Statistics - Presentations and Boats"

University of California - Berkeley (1st place overall; 1st in paper; 1st presentation; 3rd in product)
Ecole de Technologie Superieur (2nd place overall; 2nd in paper; 3rd in presentation; 4th in product)
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo (3rd place overall; 3rd in paper; 6th in presentation; 1st in product)
University of Florida (4th place overall; 8th in paper; 2nd in presentation; 2nd in product)
University of Nevada - Reno (5th place overall; 6th in paper; 7th in presentation; 11th in product)
New Mexico State University (6th place overall; 5th in paper; 4th in presentation; 14th in product)
Universite Laval (7th place overall; 15th in paper; 5th in presentation; 13th in product)
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona (8th place overall; 10th in paper; 22nd in presentation; 6th in product)
University of Alabama in Huntsville (9th place overall; 9th in paper; 17th in presentation; 5th in product)
University of Cincinnati (10th place overall; 4th in paper; 11th in presentation; 20th in product)
University of Wisconsin - Platteville (11th place overall; 16th in paper; 13th in presentation; 12th in product)
Clemson University (12th place overall; 13th in paper; 9th in presentation; 9th in product)
Ohio Northern University (13th place overall; 7th in paper; 10th in presentation; 16th in product)
Polytechnic Institute of New York (14th place overall; 12th in paper; 15th in presentation; 7th in product)
University of Evansville (15th place overall; 11th in paper; 14th in presentation; 8th in product)
University of Washington (16th place overall; 20th in paper; 8th in presentation; 22nd in product)
Fairmont State University (17th place overall; 18th in paper; 19th in presentation; 10th in product)
Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville (18th place overall; 14th in paper; 16th in presentation; 15th in product)
University of Texas - Tyler (19th place overall; 17th in paper; 21st in presentation; 17th in product)
University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown (20th place overall; 19th in paper; 12th in presentation; 21st in product)
University of Memphis (21st place overall; 21st in paper; 18th in presentation; 18th in product)
University at Buffalo (22nd place overall; 22nd in paper; 20th in presentation; 19th in product)

Anthony P. Crest Award for Innovation - ETS for developing a flexural testing apparatus for vertical plate testing.
R. John Craig Award for Co-Ed Sprint Race - Cal Poly - SLO
Spirit of the Competition - University of Texas - Tyler

Who's who in the competition (Pre-National Team/Canoe Photos)
Gilbert's top picks and commentary for the 2009 NCCC (
The Front Line) and (Follow Up)

Team UAH placed ninth overall... but came back from Tuscaloosa as a winner!

Team UAH Memo     Birmingham News Blog

2009 NCCC Website Links

2009 ASCE NCCC Website

2009 NCCC Race Site - Lake Nichol

Races were held on Lake Nichol.

2010 National Concrete Canoe Competition

The 2010 National Concrete Canoe Competition will be hosted by Cal Poly and held June 17-19, 2010 in San Luis Obispo, California.