Posted on: August 31, 2010

Wild Dolphin Sand Sculpture Contest Winners Announced

KIHEI, HI -- More than eighty visitors and Maui residents participated in Pacific Whale Foundation's Wild Dolphin Days Sand Sculpture Contest at Keawakapu Beach in South Kihei on Saturday, August 7, to sculpt realistic and fanciful dolphins out of sand at the ocean's edge.

“It was so much fun to see such a display of creativity and originality,” said Ashley Justice, Events Coordinator at Pacific Whale Foundation. “There were beautiful sand sculptures up and down the beach, all in tribute to Maui’s wild dolphins.


The prize for the Best Overall Dolphin went to the Handler family and their niece, Gabi, of Los Angeles, California, who created an elaborate scene of a dolphin with a mermaid. The members of the winning team included parents Ellie and Brenden Handler, their son Hayden (age 5) and their niece, Gabi Perez (Age 6). They won a free Wild Dolphin Watch cruise with Pacific Whale Foundation.

"2010 was our biggest turnout yet. It is great to see visitors and locals coming together in this free-community-driven event. I think everyone had a good time, and learned a lot about Maui’s wild dolphins from our education staff," commented Justice.

Other winners included:

"Best Group Children’s Entry” (for kids 12 and under only): Gabriel Sisneros (Age 12) and Ashley Sisneros (Age 9), Kihei, HI, for their sculpture depicting a dolphin with a sombrero hat, holding a briefcase and balloons


"Most Realistic Dolphin": Jim Merdan and Bev Vancil for their sculpture of a realistic dolphin, a green sea turtle and a large eel who was “catching a free ride” on the dolphin’s tail.

"Most Creative Entry": Mother and daughter team Lynn Hershberg and Brianna Friedman, Austin TX, for their sand portrayal of a 3-dimentional reef scene with various depths of the ocean.

"Funniest Entry": Debbie Lem, Natalie Lem (Age 13), Katelyn Lem (Age 6) and Aimee Chua (Age 20), Los Angeles California, for their creation, which showed a sand-sculpted dolphin swimming with Aimee, who was buried in the sand as a human mermaid!

All of the winners received prizes from Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Store. All participants also received a free wild dolphin poster and a free Wild Dolphin Guide from Pacific Whale Foundation.

The free sand sculpture contest is held every August, as part of Pacific Whale Foundation's Wild Dolphin Days, a celebration of the spinner, bottlenose and spotted dolphins found in Maui County's four-island region. The event also celebrates the fact that Maui's dolphins will always be wild and free, thanks to a County ordinance that bans the exhibit of captive whales and dolphins.

To view photos of the winning entries, visit or search Pacific Whale Foundation on Facebook.