6 of the World’s Best Sand Sculpting Competitions

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Sandcastles have come a long way from the mounds of sands we built as kids. In fact, they’re not even called sandcastles anymore: the term “sand sculptures” has been dubbed to better describe these fleeting works of art.

Talented artists spend endless hours sculpting these beauties, which the public can enjoy until Mother Nature runs her course. Interested in checking out some sand sculptures firsthand? Why not head to a sand sculpting competition, where the top artists gather to showcase their creations? Here are 6 of the best sand sculpting competitions in the world that are sure to blow your mind.

World Championships of Sand Sculpting | Atlantic City, New Jersey
Ladies and gentlemen, the World Championships of Sand Sculpting is the ultimate competition in the world of sand. Most recently held in Atlantic City (though the competition might move this year), the World Championships requires 1.2 million pounds of sands to be transported to the site for artists to work with.

Sculptors from 13 different countries use this especially fine sand to create masterpieces—some as tall as 14 feet—to compete for $16,000 in prize money. Competitors can enter in singles or doubles, with each category being judged separately.

The Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition | Parksville, Canada
For more than 20 years, the beach side town of Parksville, British Columbia has hosted a world-famous sand sculpting competition. Since the year 2000, nearly 900,000 visitors have flocked to the local beaches to check out the incredible sculptures on display.

Professional and master sand sculptures from around the world migrate to this Vancouver Island town to partake in this event, which is a qualifier for the World Championships. Sand-curious travelers can get the whole experience by participating in “Lunch with the Castles”, which includes a guided tour through the exhibits followed by lunch amongst the sculptures.

The Bermuda Sand Sculpture Competition | Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda
Now in its eighth year, the annual Bermuda Sand Sculpture Competition is unique in the way that it brings together both professional and amateur sand sculptures. A variety of categories means that anyone can compete. With special sections for professionals, families, children, teenagers, businesses, and even tourists, there’s no reason not to get a little sandy. With a tight timeline of six hours and a canvas of 144 square feet in a 12 by 12 plot, competitors can team up with up to five other people to create their masterpiece. The winner takes home a $1,000 cash prize.

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The Hampton Beach Sand Sculpture Event | Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
Just as the seasons switch from spring to summer, 250 tons of sand will be delivered to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, and the annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpture Event will kick off in full force. Ten world-class artists will be invited to participate in the upcoming 2014 competition, where a cool $15,000 in prizes will be awarded to the best of the best. Visitors are encouraged to check out the art in progress, and the sculptures will be illuminated at night for a mystical vibe.

The International Sand Sculpture Festival | Rorschach, Switzerland
This event invites ten pairs of sand sculptors to work the magic. Using nothing but sand and water, the artists have six days to create their sculptures. This festival’s setting makes it one to take note of: situated along the shores of Lake Bodensee, sculptures are framed by the towering Swiss Alps, looking in the background.

The Australian Sand Sculpting Championships | Surfers Paradise, Australia
Competitors at this weekend-long event in Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Austrlia, will have to work under the constraints of a set theme, which changes every year. The most recent theme? Myths, legends and fairytales.   This year’s winner embraced the theme, creating an extremely intricate Trojan horse. Tasmanian Peter Bignell’s piece captured the hearts of the crowd and the judges!

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