Cardboard Canoes Race Across Cedar Lake

Cardboard Canoes Race Across Cedar Lake

Students paddle across Cedar Lake in their coated cardboard and packaging tape creation. Photo credit: Scott L. Huck/Cedarville University

by Public Relations Office - Cedarville, OH

September 28, 2007

Cedarville, Ohio-It certainly doesn’t seem safe. Flimsy, creaky cardboard-But each year, Cedarville University students put it all on the line in the annual Cardboard Canoe Race. And each year, some teams end up wet… and one team ends up a winner.

On Friday, Oct. 5, freshman engineering students showcased their skills in the 14th annual race. Each canoe was designed and built entirely from coated cardboard and packaging tape. Canoes were launched near the Steven Students Center and paddled by two of its designers in a race against each other and the clock. Students earned bonus points by grabbing up to 35 pounds of extra cargo from the lake as they crossed. All boats that successfully crossed the lake had the opportunity to square off in a closing demolition derby. The last team with a canoe afloat was crowned “Kings/Queens of the Lake.”

The challenge was engaging for Kevin Brockmeyer, a sophomore electrical engineering major who competed last year. “Building the canoe guided me through the thought process of an engineer solving a real world problem. Our team had to consider such aspects as buoyancy, structural integrity, and weight displacement, as well as how to effectively use our limited materials.” When asked about the team effort, he recalled, “Effective communication was necessary at all times, just as it would be for a professional engineer.”