SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — The temperature was hot but it didn’t stop Max from shoveling sand and tossing it scoop by scoop up to Andy.
The two were just beginning to rebuild the 16-foot sand sculptures that once depicted Game of Thrones and Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway. The sculptures were destroyed by unruly Spring Breakers last March.
Drenched in sweat they continued to work.
Sandcastle Lessons Instructor Andy Hancock, a local American sand sculpture champion, and Max Hovorka have promised to rebuild them even better than before.
“The castle will be bigger than the last one,” Hancock said. “The design will come from different castle architecture from around the world.”
But it’s not going to be easy.
Hancock and Sandy Feet, another prominent sandcastle sculpture artist, spent more than 500 hours working on the original designs prior to Spring Break.
Now they will be working together to have the custom sandcastles finished by July.
The two of them and their assistants have been working in 90 degree heat for five to six hours at a time.
At a recent city meeting Island leaders approved insurance proceeds associated with damages to the sand castle structure located at 610 Padre Boulevard in the amount of $24,750 to be utilized for renovation and repair.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to collect on insurance and come up with the funds to get the sandcastles rebuilt,” Mayor Dennis Stahl said. “The sandcastles are iconic, and a real visitor draw.”
He said it’s great that this work will be done in time for visitors to enjoy during their peak season.
HOW WE GOT HERE
On a Friday in March at 1:40 a.m., four male subjects vandalized the sandcastle in front of the Visitors Center, causing major damage.
They were never formally brought to justice.
The estimated cost of the damage was $24,000.
The vandalism to the sandcastles happened on two separate nights, just days after the artists finished replacing the old sand sculptures that had stood for five years.
South Padre Island officials said it was the first time any sand sculptures had been damaged during Spring Break.
The South Padre Island Visitors Center put up a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Island officials confirmed there are suspects but no arrests have been made or rewards handed out to find the individuals responsible for the damages.
“We are very happy to be doing this for the visitors,” Hancock said about rebuilding the sand castles. “It was disappointing and frustrating to find them destroyed, but we’re going to get them back.”