Learn about the UW Concrete Canoe team

Our History

  • 2013-2017Reigning Regional Champions

    For five years running, the UW Concrete Canoe Team has won the Pacific Northwest Regional Competition, qualifying to represent the region in the National Competition.
  • 2012UW Hosts PNW Regionals

    UW hosts the Pacific Northwest Regional Competition, with canoe races held at Magnuson Park in Seattle
  • 2007UW Hosts Nationals

    University of Washington hosts the 44th annual National Concrete Canoe Competition
  • 1975First Canoe

    Mortar-Mer weighed in at 450 pounds and was made of bagged Portland Cement and reinforcing steel
The University of Washington Concrete Canoe Team was founded in 1975 with the inaugural canoe, Mortar-Mer. Mortar-Mer weighed in at 450 pounds and was made of bagged Portland Cement and reinforcing steel. The canoe floated proudly in Lake Washington and was the beginning of a long journey for the team. Since then, the team has progressed in the design and construction process and the rules of the competition have become more challenging. Through hard work, excellent team members, and great leadership, the team has grown into a regional powerhouse, consistently topping the Pacific Northwest competition.  

Our Program

The Concrete Canoe Team is more than just a club - It's an opportunity for students to learn about project management, concrete design, and structural analysis. Each year, we begin by picking the leadership team for the club. This generally is composed of one or two captains, a mix design lead, a structural lead, a construction lead, a paddling lead, an aesthetics lead, and a fundraising lead. Club members then work with different leads depending the needs of the club as well as each member's personal interests. One of the major advantages of our program is our Light-Weight Cementitious Materials Class where the specific concrete mix design is developed each year by the team. This is usually a two-credit class run by the students with a faculty advisor. Each year, around ten people are involved in the class and get hands-on experience working in a lab, as well as getting a more in-depth knowledge of different cementitious materials, aggregates, and admixtures.

Our Region

The University of Washington Concrete Canoe Team is a proud member of the ASCE Pacific Northwest Region. The PNW regional competition features concrete canoe teams from universities in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia. The Pacific Northwest ASCE Student Conference is hosted by a different university within this region every year. The Student Conference involves not only the Concrete Canoe competition, but also the ASCE Steel Bridge competition and other civil engineering related activities.

Special Thanks to Faculty and Staff


Peter MacKenzie-Helnwein: Coming on board as UW Canoe's faculty advisor in 2014, Professor MacKenzie has added extensive concrete canoe knowledge and an enthusiasm for improvement to each year's team, as well as some impressive competition photography. Thanks Peter! Don Janssen: Long time faculty at the University of Washington, Professor Janssen was a faculty advisor for the concrete canoe team until his retirement in 2014. He was a great resource for the team and we wish him the best!


The following Staff Members of the University of Washington Civil and Environmental Engineering Department have been a valuable asset over the numerous years the team has been active. We would like to thank them for their support in advising the team with our schedules, finances, and trip planning. Brian Kinnear Megan Goodenkauf Vivian Ho