New Smyrna Beach sandcastles: Who's the person building these amazing sculptures?

If you’ve walked around New Smyrna Beach this Winter, you may have stumbled across something pretty impressive: massive sandcastle masterpieces in intricate designs that vary by the day.

FOX 35 News set out to find the person making them.

We discovered they were created by a Massachusetts man named Daniel Richards. He says he only started the hobby last year after his grandchildren asked him to learn how to make sandcastles, and then teach them.

 "It was amazing, people started coming up to me and asking questions and thanking me for doing it. It kind of snowballed from there," said Richards. "I get something in my mind and I just go down to the beach, and just sort of wing it from there. Do whatever I feel like doing that day." 

Now, he’s full steam ahead on the hobby. He even makes his own tools. And he’s earned a nickname among the locals: The Sandman.

"People are just thrilled to see this stuff. My wife just laughs, laughs with me. We’ll sit there after I’m all done, and – no word of a lie – 100 or 200 people will come up and take pictures, come over, and talk to us." 

Richards says he learned the hobby from watching other people on YouTube and fully believes anyone else could do the same.

"I’m not artistic," Richards said, though we may have to disagree. "My dad was a builder. I helped him a lot, growing up – so I can build things, and I guess that’s how it translates." 

Richards says if you are thinking about taking up the hobby, he recommends doing so at New Smyrna Beach.

"We’ve tried beaches up in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and the sand isn’t anything close to what it is down here," he said of New Smyrna. "You literally can’t build a big sandcastle. Here, the sand is amazing, and it just stacks so well, like nowhere else I’ve ever been."

If you want to catch a glimpse of one of Richards’ masterpieces, you’ve only got a few weeks left. He says he’s headed back home to Massachusetts at the end of the month.