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Imperial Beach sandcastles avoided using ocean water

August red tide was cool. July sewage was not.

Four sandcastle teams competed.
Four sandcastle teams competed.

Local fishermen recently spotted and photographed the red tide near Imperial Beach, according to an August 27 619newsmedia report. Besides the red tide's picturesque neon blue-colored waves at nighttime, the red-orange-tinged water affects beachgoers, boaters, surfers, bodyboarders, anglers, and sandcastle builders.

"It was cool to see the [bioluminescent waves] as the sun set," said Leonard Gonzales on August 28. "We have worked with water from the red tide, but it didn't have any negative effect on our sandcastle building."

Gonzales is part of the IB Posse sandcastle building team in Imperial Beach. "We grew up here on these beaches, and whether the water is dirtier now or just an increased awareness, we still have to create our art like the surfers have to surf."

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The changeup and the contamination news scared away prospective competitors.

Some local surfers have headed out into the red tide-affected surf and caught neon-blue colored waves. Some went out in the night and documented it on video, then posted about it on YouTube.

Clyde Swadener takes photos, video, and drone footage of the pier, beach, and waves in I.B.

"Red tide is a natural phenomenon, and it's not harmful or hazardous to humans," Swadener opined on August 28. "From what I have read, red tide is phytoplankton which causes bioluminescence" — the neon-blue look people are flocking to our beaches to experience and hopefully capture photos. UCSD scientists further explain the light show's derivatives: "The red tide is due to aggregations of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyhedra, a species well known for its bioluminescent displays."

In 2020, Swadener shot on video the bioluminescence displays as waves crashed by the Imperial Beach Pier. It appears as if a blue-colored neon light is illuminating from within the waves.

Swadener also captured the detailed sandcastle sculptures built at the IB Sun and Sea Festival sandcastle competition last month.

"There's no way that we can run hoses all over the beach."

On July 15, four master sandcastle building teams competed at the festival to handcraft sandcastle sculptures within feet of the Portwood Pier Plaza, the Surfhenge art installation, and the adjoined wooden pier. The four teams — Sandcastle Kit, Sculpting San Diego, I.B. Posse, and Sculpintures — had from noon to dusk that Friday to dig, pile, carve and shape their larger-than-life sand sculptures. A live band played music.

Gonzales' IB Posse built a sandcastle structure they called "Sea Dreaming." The structure's base was a giant head, topped with a starfish and a mermaid jutting upward into the sky. The sand sculpture took third place in the competition.

This year, because of the Tijuana sewage spill leading into the event, the sandcastle builders had to change their standards of obtaining unlimited water via buckets from the ocean.

"We had to use a plumbed water source," Gonzales explained. He helped facilitate the four competing teams by connecting Y connector garden hose adapters and providing each group with a hose. And because of the changeup and the contamination news, it scared away prospective competitors.

In this situation, had there been more competitors, "There's no way that we can run hoses all over the beach," Gonzales continued.

Locals on the Facebook and Nextdoor forums attribute the lower festival attendee numbers to The Pride Festival happening that same week, the Tijuana sewage spill, and the lack of street parking and street vendor booths.

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Four sandcastle teams competed.
Four sandcastle teams competed.

Local fishermen recently spotted and photographed the red tide near Imperial Beach, according to an August 27 619newsmedia report. Besides the red tide's picturesque neon blue-colored waves at nighttime, the red-orange-tinged water affects beachgoers, boaters, surfers, bodyboarders, anglers, and sandcastle builders.

"It was cool to see the [bioluminescent waves] as the sun set," said Leonard Gonzales on August 28. "We have worked with water from the red tide, but it didn't have any negative effect on our sandcastle building."

Gonzales is part of the IB Posse sandcastle building team in Imperial Beach. "We grew up here on these beaches, and whether the water is dirtier now or just an increased awareness, we still have to create our art like the surfers have to surf."

Sponsored
Sponsored
The changeup and the contamination news scared away prospective competitors.

Some local surfers have headed out into the red tide-affected surf and caught neon-blue colored waves. Some went out in the night and documented it on video, then posted about it on YouTube.

Clyde Swadener takes photos, video, and drone footage of the pier, beach, and waves in I.B.

"Red tide is a natural phenomenon, and it's not harmful or hazardous to humans," Swadener opined on August 28. "From what I have read, red tide is phytoplankton which causes bioluminescence" — the neon-blue look people are flocking to our beaches to experience and hopefully capture photos. UCSD scientists further explain the light show's derivatives: "The red tide is due to aggregations of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyhedra, a species well known for its bioluminescent displays."

In 2020, Swadener shot on video the bioluminescence displays as waves crashed by the Imperial Beach Pier. It appears as if a blue-colored neon light is illuminating from within the waves.

Swadener also captured the detailed sandcastle sculptures built at the IB Sun and Sea Festival sandcastle competition last month.

"There's no way that we can run hoses all over the beach."

On July 15, four master sandcastle building teams competed at the festival to handcraft sandcastle sculptures within feet of the Portwood Pier Plaza, the Surfhenge art installation, and the adjoined wooden pier. The four teams — Sandcastle Kit, Sculpting San Diego, I.B. Posse, and Sculpintures — had from noon to dusk that Friday to dig, pile, carve and shape their larger-than-life sand sculptures. A live band played music.

Gonzales' IB Posse built a sandcastle structure they called "Sea Dreaming." The structure's base was a giant head, topped with a starfish and a mermaid jutting upward into the sky. The sand sculpture took third place in the competition.

This year, because of the Tijuana sewage spill leading into the event, the sandcastle builders had to change their standards of obtaining unlimited water via buckets from the ocean.

"We had to use a plumbed water source," Gonzales explained. He helped facilitate the four competing teams by connecting Y connector garden hose adapters and providing each group with a hose. And because of the changeup and the contamination news, it scared away prospective competitors.

In this situation, had there been more competitors, "There's no way that we can run hoses all over the beach," Gonzales continued.

Locals on the Facebook and Nextdoor forums attribute the lower festival attendee numbers to The Pride Festival happening that same week, the Tijuana sewage spill, and the lack of street parking and street vendor booths.

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