Annual Physics Boat Races Return


photo by Talania Wilson

Ms. Yi (far right) joined a team for her first races

by Talania Wilson, Staff Writer

On April 5th, 2022, Cypress High School held the 30th annual boat race (except when the pool was under construction and during Covid-19) in the newly redone pool. Mr. Jeff Freeman, a former Cypress High physics teacher, said, ”Boat races have been going on for 30 years since 1992.” Engineering teacher Kevin Dwyer said, “the boat races are by far the most fun day of the year in physics. Students will come back after the fact and still want to talk about their race and what happened.” 

Teams could be singles, doubles, and bigger groups as well.

The classes that participate in the boat races are AP Physics, Honors Physics, and regular Physics. The students are usually given one to two months to work on their boats and then the students schedule their time accordingly. To make the boats, students have to use cardboard and duct tape. Some students take only an afternoon to complete their boat, others will take their entire spring break to complete their boat. For the boat to be successful, the team has to be able to fit in the boat and ride all the way across the pool and back. For extra credit, the students can get staff members to ride in their boat with them. Most teams’ plans included taking the cardboard box and covering it in duct-tape and making a design on it.

Like Mary Novales (above) and Devin Figueroa (below), most who tried to “walk on water” had little success.

A newer addition to the boat races is “walking on water,” which was added five to six years ago and is done by the Engineering class. Walking on water is when the students have to make a device that will let them walk all the way across the pool. Dwyer said, “this is a lot harder than the boat races, because you have to be able to get the balance right, but it’s also a quicker project.” Along with the challenge of being able to get the balance correct, it’s also difficult to move forward while on a piece of cardboard or soda bottle or anything else their device is made out of. Teams building a device to walk on water used various items including: boogie boards, pool noodles, mop sticks and even string. One team member said, “The pool noodles are for stability and the mop handle’s sticks are to hold and the string is so it doesn’t separate.” The team’s reasoning for using more than one boogie board was that it’s impossible to stand one boogie board, so they’re using two because they thought it would be easier to stand on. Their strategy for walking on water was to shuffle. Another team was using cardboard to make water shoes. They said that they were trying to find a nice balance between light and stability.


During the 2022 boat races, students used collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking to learn a great lesson and have a good time. Physics teacher, Justin Fournier say, “I think everybody had a great time, and I’m very grateful for having the video footage from Mr. Delgado.”