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Sand-sculpting champ repeats in Lido Beach contest

Sea Cliff resident and professional sand sculptor Andy

Sea Cliff resident and professional sand sculptor Andy Gertler stayed out of the competition, but still participated and attracted a lot of attention with his dragon-guarded castle on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Lido Beach. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Castles in the sand are more than just a hobby for Joe Sloboda.

The Seaford resident took on two sand castle competitions in less than a week — and emerged victorious in both of them.

“There’s a whole new meaning now, to going to the beach,” Sloboda said.

After winning the Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest only three days before, Sloboda took home top honors — and a $500 prize — at the second annual Seaside Sand-Sculpting Spectacular held Tuesday at the Malibu Beach Club in Lido Beach.

The contest is nothing new for Sloboda — he won the competition last year with cousin and fellow sand-sculpting enthusiast Frank Russo, of Northport. This year, Sloboda teamed up with his wife, Dianne.

“This started out as a hobby, something for us to do with the kids,” Dianne said. “Now it’s really become something big for him.”

Sea Cliff residents and professional sand sculptors Andy Gertler and Sue Beatrice of Sandsculpt USA also joined in on the fun. They stayed out of the competition, but still participated and attracted a lot of attention with their dragon-guarded castle.

Gertler has worked as a professional sand sculptor for more than 12 years and is a regular on the Travel Channel reality television show “Sand Masters.”

“Every sculpture we do is different,” Gertler said. “We like to bring something new into everything that we make.”

Around 100 participants competed in the event, which was sponsored by MaliBlue Oyster Bar and the Town of Hempstead.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and Butch Yamali of MaliBlue Oyster Bar awarded top sculptors in three divisions.

Yamali said the event gave children “a chance to be outside, out in the open with their friends on a nice summer day.”