The Art of Sand Castles

They call themselves sand sculptors—artists who build massive structures on the beach for fun and profit, only to watch their work disappear overnight.

Sandcastle Competitions
Photographer: Michael Hanson

Major Changes

The late 1990s clobbered Kirk Rademaker. He was in his 40s, a trained carpenter with a stressful job. His refuge was the Pacific Ocean. Every weekend, Kirk would jump into his car and drive to Stinson Beach, where he'd immerse himself in building sand sculptures.

His small experiments in the sand turned into larger ones: abstract forms that nurtured his creativity and attracted spectators. Sometimes hours would pass without a negative thought. He loved how the beach forced him out of his natural introversion.

Convinced that he needed to overhaul his life, Kirk quit his job and became a full-time professional sand sculptor. Soon Kirk was participating in sand-sculpting competitions around North America.

More Ways To Get Coastal Living



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20 Beautiful Beach Cottages

From polished and sophisticated to rustic and casual, browse through this roundup of beach cottages to find your favorite coastal style.

Room to Breathe