Brad Goll of Austin, Texas, captured first place at the 2010 American Sand Sculpting Championship Festival with his art called "Headache" and automatically qualifies for the 2011 World Championships next September in Federal Way, Wash.
St. Louis' Dan Belcher finished second with "Writer's Block" and Rusty Croft from Park City, Utah, rounded out the top three with "Divine Discontent." Canadian Michel Lepire from Quebec received the People Choice award for his sculpture called "American Spirit."
An estimated crowd of around 50,000 people attended the competition days, this past Friday through Sunday of the 2010 American Sand Sculpting Championship Festival at host sites Holiday Inn and Gull Wing and Pointe Estero beach resorts of Sunstream Hotels and Resorts.
Winning sand sculpture
Pristine beach conditions and near perfect weather, hovering in the high 70s, along with many tireless volunteers made the FMB Chamber festival a huge success.
"I didn't have a headache when I was carving it, but I was in pain from the pound up," said Goll about his art.
"Maybe that influenced my decision."
This was the first year at the Fort Myers Beach event for Goll, who has a record nine titles at the World Championships during his 25-year professional career in sand sculpting. He said his sculpture evolved half way through the competition.
"It's a beautiful place with perfect weather, and the contest organizers took good care of us," Goll said. "My sculpture didn't start out as Headache. I just wanted to do a big head with hands on it but, as I looked at it through the contest, it looked like he was holding his head from a headache. So, I added cracks and the eye popping out, and it kind of grew from there."
FMB Chamber's Bonnie Roberts thought the festival was ideal and went off without a hitch.
"This has been a spectacular weekend," she said. "The sculptures have been phenomenal, the crowds have been unbelievable and the vendors have been remarkably successful with a beautiful line of hand-crafted items. The businesses that have been displaying have run out of product. It's been lots of good public relation for our island. It was a beautiful and perfect weekend."