They call themselves sand sculptors—artists who build massive structures on the beach for fun and profit, only to watch their work disappear overnight.
On South Padre during the annual Sandcastle Days competition, that history is evident: The carvers are a boisterous, affectionate pack, prone to goofing off in public. They say they're living their second childhoods, and in some cases, their first ones.
Left: "Sandy Feet" competes all over the world. She blogs at