Every year, the team participates in the Canadian National Concrete Canoe Competition held at a Canadian university. The competition involves the evaluation each team’s final product, technical report, oral presentation, and finally, the paddling races.
Proper engineering methods and professionalism are highly encouraged in the competition. Thus, large portions of the scores are allocated to the oral presentation on the design of the canoe as well as the written technical report which details these designs. The canoes are also weighted before the races and points are deducted for inaccurate calculations regarding the estimated weight of the canoe. This is to help enforce the importance of accurate estimates and error margins in the work of an engineer.
The shape and composition of the concrete mix of the canoe is strictly guided by the competition rules. Aside from complying to the required dimensions as per the rules, aesthetics are also taken into account in the judging process. Further, the canoes are subject a swamp test in which the canoe is submerged completely underwater and is required to float back to the surface of the water by itself. All of these requirements are challenges that members of the canoe team must overcome every year.
The highlight of the competition, of course, are the races. This includes the men’s endurance, women’s endurance, men’s sprint, women’s sprint and the co-ed sprint. While the placements of races depend entirely on the efforts of the team’s paddlers, the rest of the team cheers on their fellow teammates, showcasing school spirit.
The Concrete Canoe Competition is a competition that entails so much more than just racing the canoes. This is the reason why we, at the University of Toronto, spend endless hours on the technical aspects of building the canoe, as well as physical training for paddling, because we believe that every ounce of our efforts counts toward the final placement of our canoe at competition.