By Emily Wunderlich
USF St. Petersburg’s signature homecoming event, the annual cardboard boat race, hosted by Harborside Activities Board returned to the waterfront Oct. 11.
The race is themed after popular Nintendo video game “Mario Kart.”
Each year, the event attracts organizations from around campus, as well as students looking to get competitive. The teams are allowed a maximum of ten members.
“That’s really my favorite part[… ]to see how many students come out and show up to these events and how excited they are,” said Asmita Palsule, Compass peer coach and sophomore financing major.
The objective was simple: to complete one lap around the designated course in Bayboro Harbor and return to the shore.
Teams had to construct their vessels using unconventional materials. HAB collected cardboard and provided each team with three rolls of duct tape and three trash bags.
Each team had until 3 p.m. Wednesday to complete their boats for inspection.
Teams were permitted to use additional supplies and decorations as they saw fit. However, if they modified or waterproofed the structure of their boat, they were disqualified from the race.
The race kicked off at 5 p.m. Campus Recreation provided each boat occupant with an ore and a life jacket. UPD was on standby in case of any injury.
Financial Aid’s boat entitled “Game of Loans” was made to resemble a dragon. Although the dragon’s head was dismantled before the race to enhance performance, its design won People’s Choice Award, Most Creative and third place overall.
Physical contact between competitors was not permitted. This included intentionally splashing water on other boats.
Luckily, there were no violations preventing any team from participating.
The Dean of Students’ boat was simple but effective, enabling Ed Bringas to complete the race without sinking. The team won Best Design and first place overall.
Student Government placed second overall.
Other superlatives included Most Likely to Sink – awarded to HAB – and Best Homecoming Spirit, awarded to Housing and Rec Life.
“It went really well, we had a really huge turnout and there were some really awesome boats[…] probably the best that we’ve seen in years design-wise,” said Kevin Patrick, HAB president and junior marketing major.
“Everyone was really creative. I like how everyone incorporated the Mario Kart theme into their boats, that was really cool to see.”