Amazin' Walter, The Old Son of the Beach, himself... I'm an artist that lives on South Padre Island, off the coast of Texas and travels the world carving sand and taking photos,


While at home i offer private sand castle lessons as well as create art in a variety of medium... making balloon sculpture at Blackbeards' Restaurant on South Padre Island...

I love playing music with my friends... i have fun!


below you will find my "bio" as sent to sancsculpting events... remember... it's my side of the story....




SAND: Walter McDonald, aka, Amazin' Walter, the "Old SOB* Himself",

has been dazzling beach visitors for more than 30 years at South Padre

Island with his soaring towers and impossible arches in his castles

made of sand.


In 1985 the South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau noticed

his beach activities and invited him to perform his art of sand at a

convention at Corpus Christi, Texas. He became hooked on the Island

and stuck in the sand. He has participated in sand sculpting

competitions and displays in China, Japan, Belgium, Holland, Qatar,

Mexico, Canada, Nassau, Bermuda, Costa Rica,Taiwan, Australis and in many cities in the

United States. A large part of his income stems from commissions to

build "Will you marry me" castles, Wedding castles, Happy Birthday

Castles, and private sand castle lessons for tourists on South Padre

Island. Walter has taught lessons to thousands of people since 1978

when he first arrived at the Island. Corporate team building

exercises, promotional sculptures with company logos on them, in 1987

he was instrumental in organizing Sand Castle Days, which has become a

masters' competition on South Padre Island that just completed its

28th edition.

He has won many medals, trophies and cash awards for his competition

sculptures from his very first masters competition in Virginia Beach

at the North American Sand Sculpting Championship (2nd place with a 5

person team including his partner and ex-wife sandyfeet) to 3rd place

in the solo category of that same competition in 2010. Competing in

the World Championship competition in British Colombia he won medals

in the solo division, the two person team division, and the large team

division. In his first excursion into solo masters competitions in

1992 he won 1st place in the American Sand Sculpting Competition in Ft

Myers Beach, Florida. The public loves his castles, awarding many of

them the coveted "People's Choice" award.


Walter enjoys working on large projects with his friends from around

the world. His first large project was "Atlantis" at Fiesta Island in

San Diego in 1997. Belgium for four summers with Sculpta Sand

Sculpture company with themes on Ancient Egypt (2001), South America

(2003), Renaissance Italy (2004), and Belgium History and Pop Culture

(2005), also a winter project in Belgium (2004) and one in Holland



Amazin' was recently introduced at a competition as the most famous

and most popular sand sculptor to have at a competition. He humbly

replied, "aw shucks" and looked at the floor.


As Grand Poohbah of The Sons of the Beach he launched the Unlitter

Campaign in 1985. The Sons of the Beach pledge (I promise to have

fun!.. Help others have fun!... and Unlitter!... Unlitter is to

properly dispose of more garbage than you generate!) has been taken by

an incalculable number of people at festivals, fairs and even numerous

times on national television.


Amazin' Walter has been featured in hundreds of interviews from local,

regional, and national newspapers and magazines as well as radio and

television. With his daughter Christy McDonald they were a team on the

reality show "Sand Blasters" where 5 of the 8 entries are blown up

with dynamite and must start again with a new block of sand. With

partner SandyFeet he was featured in a "Best Buy" commercial. Oprah

commissioned the amazin' one for a sculpture in Nassau for O Magazine.

Amazin', sandyfeet, and Christy built a 12' tall sculpture for the

cover of Texas Monthly magazine. The South Padre Island Convention and

Visitors Bureau sent Amazin' to work with "Texas on Tour" in New York

City (Matt Long helped on this one) and sent Amazin' and Feets to the

Houston Art Car Parade, all to promote South Padre Island.


2010 has been an exciting year for Amazin' Walter, in February he

spent a week teaching sculpting with sand at the Austin Waldorf School

in Austin, Texas for the 7th year in a row. April found him working

for in the sands of Arabia at the Qatar Marine Festival

where he sculpted architecture and marine creatures. Back to back

competitions in September the first being The World Championship of

Sand Sculpture in Federal Way, Washington and then across the country

to Virginia Beach for a 3rd place medal at the North American Sand

Sculpting Championship. October was spent at home working on South

Padre Island's very own Sand Castle Days where 23 "Masters of Sand"

presented their work . A few commissioned demonstrations, and a lot

of lessons adds up to an exciting year so far! November 8th takes him

to Ft Myers Beach Florida for the American Sand Sculpting

Championship: then to Siesta Key, Florida for the all new Crystal

Classic Sand Sculpting Competition.


PHOTOGRAPHY: As a young boy Walter discovered a fascination for

taking pictures. At age 12 he was given a darkroom to develop and

print his own pictures. In high school he was the school newspaper and

yearbook photographer. Walter's college major was photography and

after college he worked for a photographer, then freelanced for

several years before going to work at the Albuquerque Tribune for 2

years. Success there landed him a position as staff photographer for

the Dallas Times Herald. After leaving the newspaper for a commission

with the Museum of Albuquerque to photograph for a show called "Have

You Seen Albuquerque" he settled into a freelance routine that still

lands him an occasional magazine assignment. Some of them Sand

Sculpting events. see his photos at or at Walter McDonald on



PRECIOUS METALS, ANTLER, BONE, IVORY: Amazin' Walter has always had

a compulsion to "make stuff". For about 40 years he has made jewelry

out of prescious metals and semi-precious stones, beads and many other

materials. Since he started sculpting sand he became interested in

carving other media. Antler, bone and ivory are a few of the materials

he is currently working with in his studio. He also produces a line of

sand sculpting tools that are sold at . Many master

sculptors own and use tools he made.


MUSIC: Walter plays guitar, harmonica, ukulele, and drums; sings and

writes a lot of the songs he sings. He played in "The Corduroy Cowboy

Company" an outlaw band for a couple of years in Dallas in the 70's.

Their music has been inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. Three

years ago SandyFeet introduced him to the joy of the ukulele and they

perform with an informal group that calls themselves the Saturn Street



ENTERTAINMENT: Being the "class clown" in school seems to have

followed Amazin' Walter into life itself. Don't be surprised if you

find him dressed as a clown or even a pirate with a bag full of tricks

fooling people into thinking they're havin' the time of their life! Or

maybe riding one of his unusual bicycles in a parade! Or juggling, or

making balloon animals, or who knows?


PLANS FOR THE FUTURE: To have Fun! ... Help others have Fun! ... and



FOOT NOTES: *SOB... Son of the Beach


amazin walter - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver


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  • JoinedFebruary 2006
  • Occupationartist
  • Hometownorange, texas
  • Current citysouth padre island, texas
  • CountryUS
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Write a testimonial
D L Ennis says:

Amazin Walter is the definitive artist! Not only is Walter an accomplished photographer but if you have ever seen his sand sculptures you know why they call him amazin!

January 28, 2011

What can I say about Walter, He's Amazing !! A true artist. I've enjoyed his ART for quite awhile now on Flickr and was able to see his true artist work in person at Ft. Myers Beach this past summer and he is a Fantastic Artist, Keep up the Great Work, your keeping us all Young.... Your Friend Scott.

January 16, 2009

Amazing Walter creates some amazing sand sculptures that will really blow your mind. I am glad that in their short life he gets a chance to photograph and share them with all of us. In addition, his other photos show a true appreciation for the natural world. Keep it up!

July 1, 2008

thanx 4 the add-always enjoyed the sculptures and castles on the island.Was there every weekend when i lived in san benito.always caught u and sandy when i could.great people and amazin' times.thanx again, rob

February 8, 2008

He truly is Amazin in many ways. He's an Amazin photographer, sand sculptor (the oldest sand sculptor in captivity), bone carver, friend, backgammon player, and of course an Amazin Dad!

May 20, 2007