Engage! – as Picard used to say!


This is the key to communication.

At a Sandcastle Lessons, my first few words need to engage my clients – period.

“Welcome to South Padre Island, The Sandcastle Capital of the world! We are called that for a reason – We have the best beach sand for building sandcastles in the USA.”

Reading what the client does next is one of the fundamentals of customer engagement. I am no expert on Body language but if a child leaves your intro and grabs one of the shovels – LET HIM DIG! – right after you have told him there is a correct way to prepare the base to put your castle on.

Teenagers who look to the sky and are obviously upset that they can’t reach for their phone to see what their friends just vibrated to them can be engaged by pointing out that Nothing, but NOTHING, beats introducing yourself to cute girls and boys by creating a sic Sandcastle as the opening line is “wow, did you do that?” The answer, in a cool voice “Yeah, wanna help?” simple. (and yes we have had some classics over the years with very shy wannabees!)

And what engages parents? – well, we don’t really engage them. We are proving that we are Fun, Value for THEIR MONEY and can engage their children beyond the mighty phone/tablet/whatever. Sometimes obviously – THEY are the children!

The point to this blog?

We have learned over the years that engaging someone in something that disturbs their comfort zone and takes away their “stuff” is always a good thing for any family. It reveals bonds and trades passions that were begun a long ago by their parents and even grandparents, and they want to pass on an introduction to that using a day at the beach. We try to instill a belief that anything is possible!

So, our only job is to make sure that we engage all our clients and as you can see from some of our reviews on Trip Advisor, we seem to be able to do that.


See you on the beach!


Sand Castle’s have Keys!

Sandcastles have keys…


Yes – big and small!

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to see an imagination open. After all, “Creativity is only limited by the imagination” (a famous guy said that)  Q: How do you unlock an imagination? A: With a key.

I have often said that communication is the key to success.  After all, without it, what have you got? A bunch of great ideas, skills and techniques, with no way to pass them on. If you have a key to communication, you can open minds anywhere.

When I teach people to make sandcastles and see the look on their face when I use a straw to blow away debris, or pull off a bucket to reveal a perfectly smooth block, I know that I have given them a key.  We spend most of our lessons laughing and joking while people relax, forget about work and phones, and get to be a family for a few hours.

I enjoy what I do. Every day I get to talk to people about what they do, soldiers, doctors, riggers, people in every form of business, social media and college, and of course,  moms. They all have one thing in common – they never thought they could make a perfect Sand ball or stack wet sand and build an awesome castle.

The keys are already in their pocket – my job is to make sure their vacation or field trip is somewhere they can use it. I hope that the experience will them keep ideas moving for a whole year so they can come back and say,” I watched your videos, and I want to build this!” (It’s amazing what they ask for!)

One of the greatest things to do is show a child how they can do something… When schools come to lessons they bring one thing in spades – enthusiasm. When I was small I loved to learn to make and fix things and I have always been an enthusiastic. I love to see what I felt myself and it’s cool to be able to pass that on! I think that showing someone how to use their hands to make anything is something we are missing these days…(but that’s for another blog!)


So like I said, keys come in two sizes big and small…and every sandcastle has one.

Family Beach memories last forever

Question:  Do “beach people” have vacation memories that are stronger than others?

When you talk to people about their favorite family vacations, the beach will always come up. Its where the whole family can be together and have fun doing the simple stuff. In the homes of people who vacation at the beach annually there is always pictures on the wall showing happy faces.

Dad can relax and you can all “pile on” to get him under the waves! Mom can have the umbrella and cocktail that make her happy and the kids can go crazy, make sandcastles, meet new friends and learn about what makes them happy.

Family vacations are important – I should know – as i didn’t take as many as I should have, and i think both me and my children (3 boys – Men now) regret it. I grew up in the UK after leaving Australia as a boy and trips to the coast were rare as i lived on a farm and there was always a lot to do.

Our school trips provided a small and ugly taste of the beach as we went to some of the worst in Wales..but it was still fun (ish!)

The beach provides a place where all barriers are removed.

There are no desks, no positions, no rank –  just sun, sea and sand! This makes everyone more relaxed and gives people a chance to deal with everyone else in a much more relaxed environment.

Building Sandcastles has been happening on beaches since Time began…yes amoeba did castles in the primordial soup! (well, we can speculate, and, then discuss this later)

Building a sandcastle isn’t something just for children. Its for everyone. From the youngest, who is busy eating the materials, to Granny and Grandad who are thrilled at being able to teach the grandchildren how materials work and how to bring those amazing ideas to life! While the youngsters do all the shoveling! some youngsters only want a shovel to dig the biggest hole in the world…if they are happy – let ’em rip.

You wouldn’t believe how many Grandparents want to beat the “other” grandparents when it comes to beach activities. Imagine my surprise when i was asked by one couple to teach them something the other couple had not seen a week earlier! America is built on competition and if you really want to inspire another generation just take them to a real Sandcastle competition where they can see the pro’s in action  –  Sandcastledays in the first week in October on South Padre island in Texas.

But its all in fun and with YouTube tutorials its been made easier with the mighty cell phone – and the cell phone? We have a cure for that!https://youtu.be/ApahRBH_r1E?list=PLkUnFwc48epRiSoUPDjRkQ3daQukM1Cbw

But what else does building a sandcastle do for you and your family?

It brings you to the best beach in Texas with lots of great things to do http://www.southpadre1.com/ and gives you the opportunity to build with some of the best sand in the USA as well as meeting people who have a similar agenda – to have fun in the sun.

During our lessons we discuss all manner of things including science, physics, chemistry, history and the environment. Some kids look at me and say…”Andy, you know were on vacation right?” Yes I do, but unless you understand the way things work how will you get any better at them?

Whether you are an Astronaut or a “Sandgineer” you need to understand what materials are necessary to make the best result possible. We don’t deal with space – we deal with making sure their is NO SPACE between our sand crystals and this makes for a much stronger sandcastle. http://barabasi.com/f/46.pdf

So what can building a sand castle do for you and your family? Well, we hope we can inspire the next set of Astronauts!

See you on the beach!


Sandcastle Season is beginning on South Padre Island!

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the beach! You discovered me! An Australian born American who has a voice that people think is cool..(really?) so…

I talk….A LOT..coz that’s my job. but all my friends said that “you should write like you talk, it would be awesome!” so here it is my first blog and it will have VLOG soon

My name is Andy Hancock and I teach people how to build Sandcastles.

Happy families are what we do

Yes, That’s right folks, I get paid by enlightened families( usually mom!) who want to learn how to build a better Sandcastle on one of, if not the best, Sandcastle building beach in America


Here on South Padre Island in Texas I give Sandcastle lessons year round. and help people find the fun things to do on their beach vacation. http://www.southpadre1.com


Why do moms do the bookings? – well, it’s a man thing really. Men are designed for a few good things, heavy lifting, driving, fixing stuff, buying tools, getting people into order when they are misbehaving, and, of course, finding the best watering holes!

Planning… err …we (Men) don’t do so well. Mom’s are king when it comes to planning things to do on vacation and once they have got their first “big list” they will sit everyone down and ask for opinions on what is best by giving everyone the Overview rather than too much detail. After this, and when the word “budget” has been explained, she will go further with more exhaustive research – which is when my phone rings.

Mom then says, “We are going to be on South Padre between these days, can you tell me how this works?”

“Of course, 2 or 3 hour lessons where we supply everything and you supply the smiles and if you book early in your vacation, the toolkit that we give out with every lesson can be put to good use. We’ll even lend you buckets and shovels FOC so you can keep producing masterpieces. Hows that? ” I ask how mom found me to ensure what i am doing is working in my marketing master plan (more of that later!)

Why would you (mom) book a Sandcastle lesson?

Easy – it is  a true FAMILY deal. It is always fun you don’t need any artistic ability or a cell phone! Teenagers can even do it too! – (I do explain how good looking members of the opposite sex will be attracted to awesome sandcastles – always helps)

You have to follow 3 simple rules and the kids will build for hours. and you don’t need to buy the bucket from the hotel shop!

That’s it?

The Hancock boys!

Well besides one thing. I have 3 sons in the UK and i don’t see them very often. so, I take solace in the fact that i meet a new family who are always happy and excited to see me on the beach, and that helps my sanity.

THIS IS A FAMILY THING! The whole point of going on vacation is to have fun as a family. This has been getting harder to achieve due to the technology and “apps”, not people, are the primary communicators in today’s world. That’s no problem even with the teenagers who sometimes say “Dad, Really?, a sandcastle lesson – i’m not 4 you know!” We have a cure for that.

I hope to engage every single person who comes to the lesson from the 2 yr old who wants to just dig holes to the 82 yr old who has waited her whole life to do this. You can become one of the world’s Sandcastle People! One of my passions is to try and switch on the youngsters to what is possible with your hands. You can do something you didn’t think was possible and then watch the excitement when they start to understand. That’s why we talk science and math during the lessons (such as the weight of water BEFORE they fetch it from the ocean!) as we think its very important to know the basics as you travel through life…i have found that relearning the basics has helped me a lot especially to solve large scale stuff that others think is impossible.

https://plus.google.com/collection/A lCaHB

So, when in Rome…check out my Sandcastle vids on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkUnFwc48epRiSoUPDjRkQ3daQukM1Cbw

and if you need any more info just go to Trip Advisor to check out what other people think https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g56691-d1382688-Reviews-Sandcastle_Lessons-South_Padre_Island_Texas.html

So the Point of the Blog? well we will be telling you from the Ground up (literally) how to select and area on the beach, what to do with the sand and how to start alongside the tools you will need and how to get all those details that cool castles have.

as well as rambling about all sorts of South Texas stuff…which , even after 15 years here is still cool!

so check out the images and vids and then we can start off your sandcastle careers!

and what is our Mantra? “WE DON’T DO BORING”™


and the next blog? How to build a great block on the beach to WOW everyone. Continue reading