Sand Castle Artist Speaking Out on Recent Vandalism

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Four suspects accused of vandalizing the sand castle in front of the South Padre Island Visitor's Center remain on the run.

For the past 12 years, David Sellers has called the island home. He said seeing vandalism in a place he cares about so much is discouraging.

"We rode our bicycles that way yesterday and we looked at it and it was saddening," Sellers said. "Oh, I was just saddened by the waste of all of that effort and all of that beauty."

Sand castle artist, Lucinda Wierenga with Sandy Feet has been sculpting for more than 35 years.

"It's one stop on the South Padre Island sand castle trail so there's about 30 sculptures scattered up and down the island that we struggle to maintain," said Wierenga.

She added this particular project took her 13 days non-stop, countless hours and was a tribute to the connection between South Padre Island and Port Isabel.

"The one at the visitor's center was just a big heart breaker, because it was finished so recently," said Wierenga.

She said she's devastated by the loss of her work.

"I got an email from one of the ladies who works there at the visitor's center who went and saw the damage. You know, my heart just went 'oh, no' and I kind of went into mourning over it for a couple of days."

Wierenga and the other builders were confident the structure would last for years down the road. The sand used in the sculptures isn't like the sand found at the beach. It can't be crushed by hand, or 'accidentally' destroyed.

"After we carve it, we spray it with a light solution with type bond three, which is a waterproof wood glue and usually makes it very strong, like concrete," Wierenga said. "These castles are different. These sculptures are meant to last, they're meant to give people pleasure for years down the road."

Wierenga said they'll be ready next year.

"This time, what we should have done is have a security guard around it. I think that's pretty obvious."

As far as her attitude towards spring breakers, Wierenga isn't holding a grudge.

While she's unsure if the structure will be rebuilt, she would like to go in and repair the damages done.

There's no leads on who vandalized the structure at this time.


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