One whiff of that salty sea breeze, and all of a sudden, the warm days as a kid splashing around in the ocean and building sandcastles on the shore comes rushing back to you. There you are, filling up buckets with sand and running back and forth with water to aid in the creation of your masterpiece. Sculpting extravagant sandcastles is a childhood dream. How many towers could you build up? OH, and do not forget the mote!
But who says sandcastles are just for kids! Randy Hofman is a local sand sculpture artist, and you may have seen his work while walking on the boardwalk. Located in front of the Plim Plaza Hotel, right off the boards, is his masterpieces of sand.
Since 1981, Randy has created sand sculptures after years of mentoring under Marc Altamar in the 1970s. The sand sculptures Randy creates have kinetic energy that draws people in while they walk along the boardwalk. Ocean City has unique textured sand, and this sand is the main element in his creations. What is a sandcastle without the sand?
Ocean City, Maryland is a special place because of our unique sandy beaches. Sand is not all created in the same way, so what makes our sand special?
Our location on the Eastern Shore positions our beaches to produce a type of sand made from a combination of materials. Beach sand comes from the melting of glaciers or ancient river sediment. North of our beaches, you will find sand made from melting glaciers, and this sand produces a more pebbly texture. Ouch!
Whereas right here, on our beaches, you will find a mixture of sand made from ancient river sediment and melting glaciers. Our beaches produce rich and luxurious sand that is soft-to-the-touch and is easy to relax on.
You can learn more and see the different types of sands from all over the world on display at the Ocean City Lifesaving Museum.
Randy Hofman knows a thing or two about different sands. He has traveled across the country creating sand sculptures with a large variety of different sands, but he prefers Ocean City’s sand the most. He precisely constructs figures and landscapes in the sand with a unique object that might surprise you. You may have used it yourself if you have eaten crabs or been to this local crab house, The Mug and Mallet, located on the boardwalk. Randy sculpts the sand with a knife typically used to get the crab meat out of its shell. He prefers this tool, saying not only is this great for picking crabs, but it is also great for creating delicate details in his sand sculptures. He uses the crab knife to sculpt the Roman Numbers and the beveled effect creating deeper dimensions.
Randy loves these sand sculptures and says they remind him of how time is precious and fleeting. The sand masterpieces only last for so long before the wind comes along and carries them away. Randy uses a glue mixture to preserve the sculptures as long as possible before nature takes over. He sprays a combination of Elmer’s glue and water on the top of the surface of the sand sculptures once he has completed sculpting. You will want to make sure to check these creations out before time and wind erase the canvas.
The sand sculptures are in front of the Plim Plaza Hotel, between First and Second Street in Ocean City, Maryland. To learn more about Randy Hofman and other works of art he creates, check out his website.