Hampton Beach NH Sand Sculpting Classic 2022 winners

HAMPTON — Mélineige Beauregard took home the top prize and the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Classic for her piece titled “I am life.”

“Oh my god this is amazing,” Beauregard said Saturafter winning her third championship at Hampton Beach in four years. “This is an awesome event, and you are always competing against amazing sculptors. It’s awesome just to be here.”

Beauregard, of Captain Cook, Hawaii, was awarded $6,000 for the first place and another $1,000 for the People’s Choice Award.

Mélineige Beauregard works on her sculpture

Her two-sided sculpture shows life on one side and death on the other.

“It’s inspired by the design pattern of the Flower of Life,” Beauregard said of her winning masterpiece. “It’s a pattern that is present in most nature, life, and ourselves.”

One side, she said, “is more like nature, the creations, the flowers and all of the beauty in the world and on the other side is the decay, destruction, and death.”

Mélineige Beauregard's sculpture

The three-day contest put on by the Hampton Beach Village District wrapped up Saturday and featured a who’s who of master sand sculptors. The contest was organized by Greg Grady and is in its 22nd year.

Second place, and $4,000, went to Karen Fralich, of Ontario, Canada, for her piece titled “Trolls.”

“I really like to carve fantasy and this is inspired by a story called ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ which is based on a Norwegian play called Peer Gynt,” said Fralich.

“This is part of the story where the Troll King has come upon a lot of treasure and the trolls are obviously really happy about that.”

Second place, and $4,000, went to Karen Fralich, of Ontario, Canada, for her piece titled

While other sculptors plan ahead and come in with a vision of what they want to create, the five-time world champion said she likes to just go and “let the sand talk to me and kind of go from there.”

Third place and $3,000 went to Carl Jara, of Lyndhurst, Ohio, for “Entropy” and fourth place and $2,000 went to Rusty Croft, of Carmel, California, for “Transition.”

Jara’s sculpture was about his dad who has dementia. It was a sculpture of a man’s head, hollow inside with picture frames of family memories.

Carl Jara, of Lyndhurst, Ohio, created

For Croft, his piece was also an emotional one as it was dedicated to his brother, Michael Croft, who died last year from COVID-19 at the age of 53.

Croft, who starred in the Travel Channel’s TV show “Sand Masters,” was also awarded the Sculptor’s Choice Award, which is voted on by those competing in the contest.

Rusty Croft, of Carmel, California, works on

Taking home the Governor’s Award, selected by Gov. Chris Sununu, and securing a spot in next year’s contest was Greg Grady Jr. for his piece titled “Wyvern Whisperer.” It showed a two-legged dragon being fed a bone by a superhero boy.

“This piece was made for my son,” Grady Jr. said. “He wanted a dragon. He’s going to be 5 in August and he loves superheroes.”

Taking home the Governor's Award, selected by Gov.  Chris Sununu, and securing a spot in next year's contest was Greg Grady Jr.  for his piece titled

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Heartbreak on the sand

Abe Waterman, who came in first place in last year’s contest, failed to place this year after his sculpture collapsed Saturday with just five minutes left in the contest.

The audience gasped, went silent, and then gave him a round of applause when he held his hands up and just shrugged it off.

Abe Waterman's creation

Waterman’s piece titled “Hierarchy of Needs” showed a woman on a cellphone ignoring a baby who was dead on the ground. The writing on the base of the sculpture stated, “follow me on #dead.”

“It was just a commentary that we are more involved in social media than you are with your surroundings and the people around you,” Waterman said.

Waterman said the astronomical high tide from the night before reached the base of the sculpture and may have played a role in the collapse.

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