Kings of the sandcastle

  • A line in the sand: previous entries for the Bermuda Sand Sculpture Competition on Horseshoe Bay Beach

It is not only children who like making sandcastles, building beach artworks fuses creativity, exercise and a love of nature everyone can enjoy.

Hannah Strang, organiser of this year’s Bermuda Sand Sculpture Competition, reckons the activity is a great way to spend a day.

“On one hand you’re hauling buckets of water and packing your sand to fight gravity and praying it doesn’t fall apart, or that you finish before sunset or that the tide finishes it for you,” she said.

“But at the same time I’m outside in the sunshine on a beautiful beach with the sound of the waves, or meeting interesting passers-by who stop to ask what I’m doing and talk.”

The annual competition, started by Nicky Gurret more than two decades ago, will take place on Horseshoe Bay on September 2.

Ms Strang said that Ms Gurret — who stepped away from the competition last year — left some big shoes to fill.

“She is an amazing force of energy and creativity that inspired me each year to enter and create bigger and better pieces and to become more and more involved,” she said.

“I only hope that I can do her project justice this year and continue her tradition.”

Ms Strang may be organising the event for the first time this year but she is no novice when it comes to creating castles. She has won the competition, along with partner Mikal Thomas, for the past three years.

“They have all been very different,” she said of the pair’s winning works.

Three sculpted whales gave the pair their first of the consecutive wins. The following year, they won for their lion, elephant and rhino creations. Last year’s piece featured a dragon wrapped around a castle and tower.

Ms Strang has also created two sculptures for Cup Match, and one for the Ag Show.

The hardest part of the process, she said, was a twofold challenge: coming up with a new idea, and dealing with the physical requirements needed to make the vision a reality.

Ms Strang will not be competing in this year’s competition.

“I figured after 13 or so years it was time to step back,” she said.

“Honestly I think I will be too busy hopefully signing people in and taking pictures of all the wonderful pieces others will be creating.”

Some $2,000 in cash prizes will be up for grabs at this year’s competition. The event is free to enter thanks to donations from sponsors Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery and the Green family, owners of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

There are also several categories to encourage participants of all ages.

For those looking for a little practice before taking part, Ms Strang will be teaching free workshops on Saturday, August 26 and on the Thursday and Friday before the competition weekend. The workshops will also be held at Horseshoe Bay.

“I will be happy to show you the basics of keeping your sand together and the pro tips and tricks to take your idea to the next level,” she said.

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