Sensational Sand Sculpture Art

Sunday, February 1, 2009
The seventh annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition ran from Thursday through Saturday, attracting thousands of viewers lining up along the sidewalk on Ocean Boulevard to take a glance of what was described as a ‘parade in the sand,’ turning piles of the silty substance into works of art.

Beachgoers will be able to enjoy the masterpieces for about a week. This was the event’s seventh year and by invitation only.

“Since it’s the 100th anniversary of the Hampton Beach Village District, we decided to kick off the celebration with a big parade sculpted in the sand.�? said organizer and master sand sculptor Greg Grady.

The district is the main sponsor behind the event that featured 12 world-class sand sculptors competing for a share of the contest’s $15,000 in prize money.

Returning to the beach this year was ‘Sergeant’ Art Knapp, of Massapequa, New York, and Marianne von den Broek, of Key West, Florida. Last year’s winner Karen Fralich, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, flew in from Italy to take part in this year’s event, reports Seacoast Online.

For some of the sand sculptors, the event is more than just a competition — it’s a way of life.

Dan Doubleday, from Treasure Island, Fla., has been sculpting sand for nine years, and owns a sand-sculpting business called Sanding Ovations, based in Florida.

“Hampton is the toughest competition on the circuit.? says Corson. “With the best sand available to work with and 5 of the strongest carvers in the world in one place, it will be a fight to the finish.�?

Marc Lepire of Charlesbourg, Quebec, was completing ‘History Repeating,’ depicting a knight and a futuristic fighter on opposite sides of a wall. Meredith Corson of Treasure Island, Fla., created a display of sea life in delicate details. Lucinda ‘Sandy Feet’ Wieranga designed a great lady with villages growing out of her cape in intricate patterns.

Some competitors have appeared on the Travel Channel show ‘Sand Blasters,’ including Meredith Corson and Dan Doubled’y, who won the TV show’s competition with their zipper head man titled ‘Closed Minded’ this year.

“It is fun to say I compete against those people.” Steve Topazio of Tiverton, R.I., said. Topazio has been sand sculpting professionally for about five years. He said it’s not upsetting when the sculptures come down. “It is a performing art.” he said.

Those inspired by the sculptures could study techniques to create their own in a nearby area using the same sand as the professionals and similar tools.

The sculptures will be bulldozed down on June 29th.

“It is the saddest day in the world.” a Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce employee said earlier this week.

Judges will choose 1st through 5th-place winners based on artistic merit, technical difficulty and overall design. A People’s Choice Award will also be given out.

The public was also asked to judge the works by dropping a ticket into a bucket in front of their favorite creation.

The first-prize winner will receive $2,500. Each participant will receive $500.