Saturday, February 8, 2014

Christchurch 3rd Annual Sandcastle Competition

This afternoon, the 3rd annual sandcastle competition was held here at New Brighton beach. For more info about the event, check out their official site. Although the forecast for today had predicted rain, it turned out to be a fine day out at New Brighton for the event, with mostly clear skies and sun (though patches of cloud did drift overhead from time to time, making white balance/exposure tricky at times due to the frequent shifts). Here are some personal highlights:


Overall, the standard of entries this year was much higher than last year, with many participants opting to build large, tall, and intricately detailed and smoothed structures this year compared to the relatively flat "etchings in the sand" seen last year. While I heard some people commenting that there seemed to be fewer people wandering around today, there seemed to be many more entries this year (though there were a few empty plots lying around the place).

1) Favourites
I'll start with some of my favourites - for most of these, I ended up taking a few shots from different angles, since many had various fine details that lend themselves well to this.

Head with a Village on the Back  (411)
Interesting concept, and nice execution demonstrating a number of different techniques.

Dragon in a Castle  (205)
This is perhaps my favourite design, though a few others included here are "better" in many ways.

Antarctica on a Beach (?)
Penguins on an iceberg and whales breaching the waves. All made out of sand...

Some Lizard/Castle Hybrid
This one had quite a lot of fine detail to it and a nice general shape.

The Walrus (230)
This big boy is particularly notable for the nice selection of materials - especially for its whiskers!

It's not a sandcastle competition in Christchurch without turtles and squid...

The Epic Scene
What more could you want! An octopus and two soldiers in a pit - one dead/wounded, and another perving on a pretty lady lying on the beach!

The Giant Boot Castle (407)
Nice idea combining a giant boot with castle-elements. The faux-logo on the side is a nice touch.

(I'm not sure though whether it partially collapsed, or whether that was part of the design...)

The Lost Tower
This is quite a nice looking design, with many beautiful curves and shapes.

2) Highly Commended
I thought the following group of entries were also quite nice, even if some weren't quite as stunning as some of the ones above.

Look Out Point
Some nice Easter-Island and Mermaid figures on display here...

No Christchurch sandcastle competition can go without there being a squid of some sort!

Whale #1
Staying with the aquatic theme: This was quite a nice looking whale, adorned with some pretty shell patterns. Watch out for the teeth though!

One of the largest and most easily visible from the sides and on the pier

Sand Mountain (206)
I'm not sure how they managed to get the white stuff on to the top, but overall, this was quite an impressive piece.

An interesting sculpture, if a bit hard to understand what it's really about...

Nessy the Plessy
"It's looking at me!" - Unidentified Grandma

Love the spikes on its back, and the detailing on its body and toes

Another Dragon
Look out for the teeth again! Oh nom nom nom...

Unidentified Lizard Thing on a Surfboard
What is it with Christchurch sand sculptors and repiles?!  The sharp angular lines of this one are quite neat though!

Dog with a Ball
Finally something different...

(The other side had sadly collapsed though - mainly just the ear)

Spongebob Squarepants
Another perennial favourite...

Ice Cream Cone (402)
With such nice weather, who can resist!

Mound #1  (243)
This piece is notable for the sheer amount of effort and care taken to decorate their little castle/mound with heaps and heaps of shells and other stuff found on the beach!

3) Others

A Plane (401)
The first sculpture you see as you step onto the beach... While the cockpit was convincing, the rest was a bit harder to recognise.


Whale #2
Juding from the teeth, it looks like it was some kind of baleen/filter-feeder...

Mound #2
Someone went crazy with the bucket technique here... ;)

Mound #3
This was one of the first items on the beach beside the entrance. Quite a bit of effort went into fortiying this and carving out stairs from the looks of things :)

Mounds #4? 
Err... I'm not sure what's going on here...

or here...

Mini Castles...

Big Round Castle
This was again one of the larger exhibits, though it looked a bit on the crumbly side... The spiked/pointy protrusions were quite an interesting touch. Pictured here with its creators (I assume)

(Complete with snow-capped mountain range here - how they did this is still a bit of a mystery to me)

A Bag of Something

Platypus/Toy Character

Maori Carving
The creators of this were still hard at work finishing off their masterpiece, armed with sculpting implement/knife/thingy and spray bottle...

Venue / Crowds / New Brighton
This event was held out on New Brighton beach, which lies on the coast bordering the Pacific Ocean. This is one of the more run-down areas of town, and the competition is one of a number of events (such as the Kite day - I've got photos from a few weeks back I've been meaning to upload and post) which aims to draw people to the area. This time, it certainly seemed to work somewhat...

Surrounding the Beach
There were many people on the beach, either swimming, or building/looking at sandcastles. And with clear skies and relatively warm weather, you couldn't have asked for a better day!

There were quite a few dogs around on leashes - ranging from small dogs, to "larger" ones...

Particular note must be made of the corgis (i.e. the Queen's favourite) on show though... 
Two corgis tied up beside a patch...

A rather "pudgy" pooch...

From the Pier
Looking down from the pier, it's kindof hard to see anything. You've really got to head out on foot along the beach to truly get a glimpse of everything that's going on.

 Looking down the pier

New Brighton Landmarks
All around New Brighton, the event seems to have drawn many people to the area, making the market in the main mall quite lively...

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