Concrete: it's durable, strong, dense, heavy, and it floats.
Well, it does if you make it right, and UT Tyler civil engineering students had to do just that to compete in the National Concrete Canoe Competition.
They qualified in the regionals and were one of 23 teams to advance to Champaign, Illinois to go against the best of the best Saturday, June 22.
The first thing the judges do is fill the boat with water to see if it's unsinkable. And it was, even when it broke in half.
The "Chip Shot," as they named the boat, has seen better days. Mike McGinnis, Concrete Canoe Faculty Advisor and one of the canoe team, engineering student Erin Hostetler, wheel the boat out of a trailer to show off their "engin-uity"; Not only in the boat's design, but in their repair job to get back in the race.
The boat cracked in the middle during the competition.
"When you're paddling the boat, you would expect the boat would kind of sag when in fact the physics of the whole scenario the boat actually arches; we call it hogging. So the very top of the canoe really wants to split apart when people are in it and that's exactly what happened. When they got it back to shore it was in two pieces. Some boat over here, some boat over there," Mike explained.
It was time for the ultimate solution to anything broken: duct tape.
"There was definitely a huge heartbreak, I think, for the entire team when we saw the guys out there with the broken boat. By the time they got back we were ready to take action and tape it back together to finish the races even with the deductions that pertains to, but we weren't going to give up. We were going to do what we could and try to finish out," Erin revealed.
And the boat held together so well it's still together now after a couple more races, and yes, they finished the competition.
"I think it will be a big motivation for next year and for students that were actually involved just to make it better, make it back to nationals," Erin said.
Next year Erin wants to end her senior year with a bang, not a crack.
They finished nineteenth the first time they made it to nationals, and eleventh the second time they qualified. Even with penalties from using tape on their broken canoe they beat out two teams, this time out taking twenty-first place.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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