Some kids grow up to be doctors. Some grow up to be firefighters. And some grow up to be teachers but then quit teaching, because they can make fantastic money building sand-castles for a living. It's true, and it turns out there's a thriving demand for sand-castle experts in the Middle East. In Thursday's paper, The Wall Street Journal offers a glimpse into the unexpectedly lucrative lives of professional sand-castle builders and the burgeoning consulting industry growing out of their ranks. A 51-year-old former electrical engineer and current sand-castle champion named Bert Adams apparently started the trend:
As this year's sand-sculpture season gets going, Mr. Adams is one of the people who have carved out a unique consulting niche on the circuit. While millions of kids will construct sand creations all summer for nothing, sand advisers have built practices charging individuals and companies for sand castle-building classes, as well as partnering with charities that sponsor sand-sculpting competitions. Just one consulting gig can garner thousands of dollars, while building a birthday sand castle in an hour can yield a fee of $300.
Mr. Adams's peers include Lucinda Wierenga, who goes by the professional name Sandy Feet. The resident of South Padre Island, Tex., who teaches sand-sculpting workshops and gives private lessons for upwards of $75 per hour, says she expects to make around $65,000 this year.
The 53-year-old former high school English teacher says her sand-consulting practice has even gone global. Last year, she made $6,000 for a week of sand carving in Qatar; this past spring, an exhibition in Taiwan contracted her services. "Travel expenses, lodging, good food and they make sure I have a good time," says Ms. Wierenga.
If this sounds good, Lucinda Wierenga (a.k.a. Sandy Feet) maintains a website with some free advice for would-be sand-castle architects. Articles include: How to Win a Sandcastle Contest, A Brief History of Modern-Day Sandsculpture and Hand-Stacking Tips for Beginners.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.