Art in the sand

Many of us have fond memories of scooping up sand with a little plastic shovel, packing it into a bucket, and making our very own castle. After a hard afternoon’s work, the tide would come in and we’d laugh as the surf destroyed all our hard work. That was part of the fun!

But making sandcastles isn’t just kid’s stuff. There’s a whole international community of artists out there who look on it as art as well as fun. Some creations are truly incredible, like the one pictured here, made in Victoria. Australia, in 2002. It’s ten feet tall and almost as wide. Making those arches near the top must have been tricky. I would have probably fallen over and left a Sean-shaped impression on the all those lovely domes and spires.

And not all these artists make castles. Dragons, mermaids, abstract designs, even human figures are all fair game. In fact, they prefer the term “sand art” since it sounds more respectable and isn’t limited to the traditional castle.

There are even artists who do their work as a job instead of just a hobby, like the talented G. Augustine Lynas, an artist who works in a variety of media but whose talent shines best in bizarre creations in sand and snow.

The best place to see these artists show off their talents is at one of the big competitions. Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia, Canada, had one of the biggest every year, but sadly it has been discontinued. You can see a cool video of last year’s entries here. Another one takes place every year on Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, USA in June. The best place for up-to-date information on the nearest competition and tips on how to create sand art of your own is Sand Castle Central.

The World’s Tallest Sandcastle and Other Sandsculpture Marvels

Earlier this month, a seven-person team of professional “sandcastlers” from Sarasota, Florida plugged away during Myrtle Beach’s 2007 Sun Fun Festival. As a result of the pluck of “Team Sandtastic,” Myrtle Beach can now boast that it created the World’s Tallest Sandcastle. Measured by an independent surveyor, the sandcastle towered 49.55 feet in the air — until Tropical Storm Barry did a little remodeling. If you’re interested, you can check out a before-and-after video of the sandcastle and the storm’s effect on it.

With a base of more than 90 feet and containing 4,800 cubic yards of sand (that’s 300 truck-loads!), Team Sandtastic required 10 days to finish their masterpiece.

In addition to World’s Tallest Sandcastle, Myrtle Beach also holds the World Record for World’s Longest Sand Sculpture. At 86,535 feet long, that’s more than 16 miles of sculpture!

Keep reading for some more images of Team Sandtastic’s work, as well as details on some other unusual sandcastles around the world.

It’s not like they just dumped the sand on a flat spot and called it a sandcastle. Sandtastic worked hard at giving the edifice plenty of texture, style, and beauty.

I think they did a great job creating something with pizzazz.

Here’s the PREVIOUS record holder for World’s Tallest Sand Castle. This castle stood 37 feet, 9 inches.

Here are some other remarkable sand sculptures from around the world. Sandcastlematt made this life-sized sandman out of driftwood and sand.

Pretty ingenious — and not a little creepy.

Sandcastlematt has also figured out how to violate the principles of gravity and building floating sand castles.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a sand sculpture car before. Here’s a sand Ferrari:

I wouldn’t have thought of a barrel as an interesting sand sculpture subject, but this one is lovingly created and beautifully executed.

I’m impressed that they managed to get lights in the windows of this sandcastle.

How do they make all these curves?

Not sure if bigoode created this sand sculpture, but he did photograph it.

Navid J captured this compelling — and completely disturbing — sand sculpture created during the 2006 US Open Sandcastle Competition.

Though this one is pretty creepy, too.

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