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Plans for Tallest Castle Sink Into the Shifting Sands

July 17, 1986|LEONARD BERNSTEIN | Times Staff Writer

Plans for the annual attempt to build the world's tallest sand castle in Pacific Beach have been dashed by a sand shortage on the beach north of the Crystal Pier, where the event has been held for two years.

"Camelot '86," sponsored by the Pacific Beach Town Council, would have featured Sand Sculptors International's attempt to build a 53-foot, 9-inch sand castle to top the record-setting 52-foot, 9-inch one they erected three months ago in Treasure Island, Fla.

But sand washed away by winter storms has not been dumped back on the beach by the ocean this year. Gathering the 35,000 tons of sand needed for the 180-foot-long, 130-foot-wide castle would have entailed scraping two feet of sand off the beach with heavy construction equipment, and would have put the entire beach below the high-tide line, said Gerry Kirk, leader of Sand Sculptors International.

"We're missing approximately two feet of sand across the top of the beach where we build this castle each year," Kirk said. "We're not sure why."

"Every year the sand goes out in the wintertime due to the tides and ocean conditions, and in the spring and summer it comes back in," said Jeff Sykes, president of the Pacific Beach Town Council. "This year, it just hasn't come back in."

Sand Sculptors International, which recently won the top prize at the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition in Imperial Beach, has erected record-setting sand castles at Pacific Beach each of the last two years.

Next year's attempt--which will coincide with Pacific Beach's centennial--may be moved to Fiesta Island to avoid the impact of the tides.

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