MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Sitting on the banks of a pond located right in the middle of the FIU campus Thursday morning, were a wide range of handcrafted shoes.

The shoes were all built with the same goal in mind: To walk on water as fast as possible.

Actually, they’d take any way possible, too.

An FIU student making his way across the lake. (Source: Douglas Garland)

It’s an annual tradition for Architecture students in Jaime Canaves’ materials class to construct and then use shoes to walk on water – not just for fun, but to earn an A if they make it all the way to the finish.

“It’s a materials class, so it’s important to understand the materials,” said Canaves, “not only in theory, but how they perform.

When asked about how the challenge has grown, Canaves said that it started as an extra credit project years ago.

But now that they get a grade, he does offer the students some guidance.

“I recommend that they don’t use steel or concrete,” he said. “But they don’t always listen to me.”

This year, a number of people made the crossing easily, leading to a number of A grades awarded.

First place went to Team Palm from Palm Beach State College for recording the fastest time.

The team, made up Arman Alaverdian, Casandra Valles and Mauricio Guerrero Garcia, sent Alaverdian across the lake. He did it in a record 57 seconds, breaking the previous time of 1:01.

Team Palm won a total of $2,000 – $1,000 for being the first team to cross and $1,000 for breaking the time record.

The first-place winner from FIU was Team Seasoned Veterans, made up of Jonathon Chang and Tristan Sykes.

“We didn’t want to over-complicate the design,” said Chang. “Keep is simple and practice the motion.”

Team Seasoned Veterans showing off their check. (Source: Douglas Garland)

In addition to getting A’s, Chang and Sykes won $1,000.

But not everyone was as successful as Team Palm and Team Seasoned Veterans.

“As soon as they get into the water, they will realize if they made a mistake,” said Canaves.

That became apparent for a few teams. Even the best designs may look good on paper but fail to perform once put to the test.

The good news for all the students is they all get a passing grade no matter how they cross the finish line, even if it takes all day.

Dave Warren

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