Friday, July 11, 2014

Totally Texas -- Ready, set, row!

Cardboard Boat Races

Samuell Grand Pool

3201 Samuell Blvd. (near I-30 and E. Grand Ave.)

Dallas, Texas


When I heard about the art of racing boats made of cardboard, my first thought was, it can’t be done. Second thought--maybe if it can cross the pool really fast. . . And then, well, the course has to be across the short side of the pool. And final thought--it’ll be really fun.

I was only right about the last possibility. Half the fun of propelling a contraption made of cardboard across a body of water is the fun of falling into the water on a hot summer day. And even the boats that collapse can still win prizes if their teams can push them all the way to the finish line.

But no, you can’t take the short route. You’ve got to get the entire length of the pool, starting at the deep end. Luckily for today’s participants, most of whom can expect to end up wetter than their boats, there are lifeguards.

And about that speed issue? Forget it. Floatability counts more than streamlining. The winners were all heavily coated in waterproof tape, the only structural material allowed, other than the cardboard itself. Even so, as you can see from the illustration for this post, duct tape can only help so much. Then it’s up to the team (maximum size, six members) to row, push or pull their soggy vessels all the way to the end.

And the term “boat” may be a slight misnomer. The key is to put together anything that will float, including rafts. Judging from last year’s entries, participants are not actually required to remain inside the vessel.  Pushing and towing are definitely allowed.

A call this afternoon from Dallas Aquatics confirmed that boats can be registered as late as 6:30 p.m. today, July 11, at Samuell Grand Pool.  There is a $15 entry fee per boat.  Races will start at 6:30 and last well, as long as it takes. 

Admission to the pool and to watch the races, is $1 for kids, $2 for those age 12 and older. Normal hours at Samuell Grand Pool are 1-8 p.m., Saturday through Wednesday. See you at the races!

For more information about Dallas public pools and their programs, see

1 comment:

  1. Oops, I goofed. This post originally stated that boats could be entered as late as July 10. That should have read, July 11.