LONG BEACH — The 35th annual Sandsations took place July 24-27, with master and amateur sand sculptors competing for cash prizes utilizing unconventional tools in creating elaborate sand sculptures.
From Wednesday through Friday, solo sculptures were constructed along Bolstad Boulevard, which served as an official warm-up to more intricate works created during the Saturday competition.
Warm, pleasant weather coupled with a low afternoon tide made for ideal conditions and ample room for the competition, which pitted 20 teams across five categories.
Many sculptors were local, including from Astoria. The furthest came from Omaha, Nebraska, but most were from cities and towns in between including Seattle, Eugene, Olympia, Tacoma and Kalama. Ed Mah, of Seattle, was among the most experienced sculptors in the competition, having participated more than 20 years.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, the competition ended and judging began, weighing difficulty, teamwork, suitability to sand, effort, design, creativity and overall appearance in determining the winners.
Sandsations 2019 winners
Unicorn Frenzy "Unicorn"
1st — Team Otter Pops "Lazy River"
2nd — Loving Family "Peace & Love"
3rd — Donze Rules "Sponge Bob"
1st — Sand Boxers "Reaching For The Stars"
2nd — The Bees "Bee Delightful"
3rd — The Tour "The Tour"
1st — Leveling Up "Picnic At The Beach"
2nd — Dashing Dickson's "It's A Surprise"
3rd — Conrad Castles "Rum Cake"
1st — Form Finders "Game of Life"
2nd — Portsandia "Orca Stra"
3rd — Team Tye Dye "Seas The Day"
Scraps of metal, strips of hose, shovels, spray bottles and spatulas, the tools of sand sculpting are simple and unconventional, but all serve a purpose in shaping sand into elaborate designs.
Master sculptor and event organizer Bert Adams hosted morning classes in the days leading up to the competition and relished introducing newcomers to the art. Adams uses an array of custom sand sculpting tools, including a cake icing spatula and custom shaper repurposed from lumber banding material.
"The cake decorator is the tool I carve with the most," he said. "You can make anything into a tool. My favorite part is showing people, who think they can't do it, how to do it. Everyone has a little 'Michel-Sand-gelo' in them and with a little bit of tools and technique, we can release it."