15 May 2007

Concrete Canoes!

This year the Canadian National Concrete Canoe Competition was held at my old university over the Mother's Day weekend. Already home for the weekend to visit my mom, my wife and I decided to pop by for the finals. The fact that it was being filmed for the Discovery Channel and hosted by Survivorman Les Stroud just added to the cool factor. I love Les's show, mainly for his continual assurances that he "hates killing wildlife, but in a survival situation, all life is fair game" just before he whacks some little critter on the head and eats it.

The concrete canoe compeition is exactly what it sounds like. Teams of civil engineering students build a canoe out of concrete and race the suckers. And yes, they do float - they just have to displace more than they weigh. In the past, we were actually able to make concrete that was less dense than water but the rules have changed a little and the artificial aggregate we used to help accomplish this is now illegal for health reasons.

I competed back in 2002 at the island in Toronto. Me and one other guy who is just finishing his belated masters now (and was actually one of the organizers of this year's competition) were the first people to set foot in our school's boat. It was quite frightening, but very quickly we found out how good our canoe was. It was very robust and handled just as well as a real canoe. Being there brought back a lot of memories, though the weather this year was a lot better than cold, hypothermia-inducing rain we had in 2002.

The good news is that the Discovery Channel will be airing a segment on the concrete canoe race tonight on Daily Planet (7:00 and 11:00 Eastern), and the whole event is up on the website.

The best news is that I got to have my picture taken with Survivorman!

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At May 15, 2007 1:23 p.m., Blogger Necator said...

Survivor man rocks!!! Awesome shirt by the way, no wonder you choose to write this blog anonymously!


At May 16, 2007 1:10 a.m., Anonymous mel said...

Concrete canoes ... only engineers could love 'em so much that they make them fascinating for the rest of us.

Here's a floating concrete engineering wonder in my back yard ... one that demonstrates the ability of concrete to both float and sink:

Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge

At May 16, 2007 4:08 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Hey Mel, when we went to BC and Seattle in February, we went over one of those floating bridges. Can't remember which one. Very interesting. I took pictures.

I love Survivorman. Very glad they are making a new season of episodes. Les says he's halfway done the season and is tired. He just ordered his team to arrange to send him to some deserted tropical island for a semi-vacation.

Les is shorter in real life than I would have thought, but other than that, he's pretty much the same as on tv. Apparently, this was his first live hosting gig but he did very well.

Necator - Whatever could you mean by that? ;-) I just hope no one else starts to copy my sense of style :)

At May 18, 2007 1:12 p.m., Blogger Necator said...

I just wish I could wear a Hawaiian print without looking like one of the islands themselves...I guess I'm just jealous!


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