Friday, 12 July 2013 05:14

Battle of the Sandcastles

Written by Nick Ross
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Castles Made of Sand

There’s a competition for everything these days, and building sandcastles is one of them. Nick Ross speaks to the organiser of the tournament in Vietnam, Phil Bossley. Photos by Steve Wilson


Why a sandcastle competition? And why in Danang?

A sandcastle or sculpture competition is a no-brainer in terms of a cool ‘fun in the sun’ event. It’s open to all levels of skill, all ages and nationalities, and is simply a great way to create something in [a beach] environment. It is a wonderful spectator-drawing event with onlookers and photographers of all ages fascinated by the varying creations. Last year thousands of beachgoers strolling the beach enjoyed the display.

Danang is the perfect location with its long, clean, white sandy beaches. The sand is also a high quality fine grain sand, which is very good to work with. There are some 60,000 university students in Danang and this is an affordable and fun way to have a break. In addition, with tourists from all over Vietnam (and abroad) visiting the city, it is a terrific way to show off and utilise Danang’s amazing beaches. Throughout July there are 5,000 to 10,000 people on the beach in Danang on a Sunday afternoon alone.


How many entrants were there last year? How artistic were the creations?

The first event last year was organised in just three weeks. We ended up with over 70 teams and put approximately 300 metres of beach into action. We were stunned at the level of creativity, the variations in design and the outcome. The judges really struggled to select winners. The participants (and spectators) all had huge smiles on their faces throughout the day and really enjoyed the event.

There are a number of ways to enhance a sculpture. The number one rule is to wet and pack the sand base and build this up to give a solid structure to carve from. Tools from the kitchen, an empty bottle, a feather duster, a stick or some driftwood on the beach can be used to sculpt with. Colouring can be added as well as a glue and water mix to extend the life of the detail and save it from eroding in the wind. Of course sticking a flag or using structural supports can be done. This depends on the event rules, though.


How important is this competition for creativity in Vietnam?

On a simple level it gives people a tremendous amount of enjoyment and satisfaction. The level of creativity can explode with a little thought and some careful technical applications. Not only does this showcase the beach and creativity of the people, but over time we hope the event will attract professional international sculptors. This year we hope to have some of the marble sculpting artisans from the Marble Mountain area in Danang taking part. We aim to build this in different beachside locations in Vietnam over the next few years and have the annual national championship in Danang.


What makes such an event so attractive to the public?

As an onlooker or spectator you can’t help but slow down and stroll the length of the beach, oooooing and ahhhing all the way. Pointing, taking photos and chatting with participants is irresistible. Then you want to get down and create your own marvel.

This year we are also planning other entertainment — a fashion show, music, food and beverage as well as some information booths to make it a great all-day event for entrants and spectators to enjoy. We will set up the main stage and shops at the end of Pham Van Dong on the beach side boulevard. The sculptures will spread left and right from here for up to 1.5km.


How are the sandcastles or 'structures made of sand' judged? What criteria do you use? What are the prizes?

Because of the number of entrants, this year judging will be a long process. There will be different categories such as overall best sandcastle/s, best sculpture/s, most creative, largest, most detailed and best technical work. We will also include a category for different ages and possibly families.


Prizes will include cash awards, GoPro HERO Cameras and vouchers from resorts and restaurants in Danang. The first 500 entrants will receive the official event shirt, a hat and an event certificate.


The GoPro Hero Danang Sandcastle Competition is organised by Silver Sun Events and will take place on Sunday Jul. 28 in Danang. For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0903 035271. To get more of a lowdown, log onto

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