Everyone wants to win the coveted Best in Show award! Teams will be judged based on how well they meet on the following criterion:

  • Design: Originality of subject and design and creativity
  • Craft: Balance, proportions, detail, and use of space
  • Theme: Interpretation and expression of “Makers and Movers”
  • Teamwork: Participation of kids, organization, and collaboration


At 8AM, Leap staff and volunteers will be on the beach to rope off the sites. Teams may bring rakes to clear their own sites as early as 10AM. You may bring tools, and set up your “staging area” but no building or digging on the 20’ x 20’ site for your sandcastle is allowed until the foghorn is blown at 11AM signaling the start of the contest.

Building sites will be 20’ x 20’, and there will be 20 feet between sites. You’ll also have a 20’ x 20’ “staging” or team support area for any tents or lunch setup that you might have. These spaces will be marked prior to your arrival. Teams MUST NOT build beyond their site parameters.

You may start raking and leveling your plot when your arrive on site. Start your water trenches, install signage & other support infrastructure.  Materials in the final sand structure are limited to: sand, water (in any form, including ice and dry ice), and biodegradable materials found on Ocean Beach during competition hours. Use of wooden forms to support or foreign objects (e.g. dyes, paint, glue, plaster, etc.) to decorate the sand structure is not allowed. No professional sandcastle consulting or assistance is allowed.

Only human-powered tools are allowed during the building process. Electricity, gasoline, and other power sources are prohibited. Review the suggested tool list.

There will be a central corridor between your staging area and your sandcastle site for the public to view the castles. It will be marked with orange cones on the side closest to your support area. We appreciate your help in keeping a clear lane for viewing.

This is an event benefiting youth, and therefore we encourage you to keep a 3:1 adult to child ratio on your team. Judges will evaluate the participation of students at each site throughout the day and award Best Participation of Students.

Teams are required to design and make T-shirts. The T-shirts must contain team name, school name, and Leap’s logo. Please drop off one t-shirt in each size at the Leap Check-In Tent once you arrive at the beach, for display and sales. The Best T-shirt award will be given to the team with the most creative and original T-shirt design.

Teams are required to design and make site signs. The sign must be adjacent to the sandcastle and placed facing the Great Highway. The sign also must contain team name, school name, and Leap’s logo. The Best Site Sign award will be given to the team with the most creative and original site sign design.

Have fun!


  • Judges will start touring sites at 1PM.
  • The final tour of all sites will begin at 2PM.
  • Building must stop at 3PM.
  • Awards at 3:30PM.