Smooth Sailing

Engineering students remove their concrete canoe from its fiberglass mold.

Smooth Sailing?

Engineering society students show off their design and building skills in a concrete canoe race

[ This article was originally published in the UTSA newsletter The Roadrunner on April 4, 1988 ]

Eight engineering students and their faculty advisers hope they don’t get that sinking feeling come April 9, 1988, when they carefully board 200-pound concrete canoes in the chilly marina waters at Corpus Christi.

Some 20 students, members of the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter at UTSA, built three concrete canoes for the ASCE spring meeting. The chapter will enter two teams in the men’s and women’s divisions and one team in the faculty division, says Alberto Arroyo. Arroyo and Geoffrey Blaney, both assistant professors of civil engineering, directed the student project and will pilot the faculty entry in the race.

Arroyo says the students have tested their concrete canoes in the Activity Center swimming pool and will launch them again in Woodlawn Lake before going down to Corpus Christi.

Because UTSA’s engineering program just received its accreditation, this is the first year a UTSA student chapter was eligible to compete. The students’ canoes will compete in two categories—speed and design.


The UTSA students placed first in the state in the design competition. Arroyo helped pilot the faculty canoe to a third-place finish. UTSA graduates Stephanie Staph and Khalil Massoudi placed third in the alumni division. Senior Eric Staph and his partner, junior Salvador Torres, finished fourth in their race. Junior Jui-yu Hsieh and senior Susan Landreth also placed fourth in their competition.