Pro sand castle constructor builds on Tahoe’s shores |

Pro sand castle constructor builds on Tahoe’s shores

Emily Craven

Tahoe Tessie’s not in the water, she’s on Lakeside beach.

But don’t look for a green scaly monster. This one’s made of sand.

A group of children worked on the beginnings of a dragon Tuesday under the guidance of Sean Paul Detherage, whose title on the beach is “Michael Sandgelo.”

“I’ve taught 10,000 kids, ages 5 to 95, how to build sand castles. Some of them have even gone on to win contests,” Detherage said.

This three-time, world champion sand-castle builder is a former resident of Tahoe, who now resides in Honolulu. He apprenticed for five years under two different world champions, and has been working professionally for about 10 years. He works for a company called Sand Imagination.

Oddly enough, Dertherage didn’t build sand castles as a child.

“I never enjoyed sand on my feet until I started making sand castles professionally,” he said.

According to Detherage, a good sand castle that will last a day requires a day to build. “Packing is the absolute most important part of construction,” he said. It is followed by stacking the sand, and finally carving it away into the desired shape, much like clay sculpting. He only uses water to strengthen and hold the structure. If an especially fancy look is desired, Detherage colors the sand castle with a water-based spray paint he designed. Sand is, he said, “the most forgiving medium known to man.”

Detherage is sponsored by the Lakeside Beach Grill, as part of an attempt to add children’s programs to Lakeside Beach in order to draw families. It is part of a larger push to improve the beach.

“We’re investing to make this a recreation destination,” said Zan Barker, owner of the restaurant.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


See more