John Gowdy and Laura Gowdy

John Gowdy and Laura Gowdy

John Gowdy

John Gowdy sculpts sand, marble, and paints portraits for audiences around the world. He is a retired fire fighter having worked 27 years in The Fire Department of Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA where he was born. He earned the rank of Captain and was placed in charge of the Rescue and Special Operations of the city. He has also worked for 7 years as a beach lifeguard in Atlantic City.
John has been sculpting sand for over 33 years and has a sand sculpture company “Sand Sculptures by John Gowdy & Company LLC”. He and his teammate and wife, Laura, have managed The Sand Sculpting World Cup Competition in Atlantic City, NJ. They have been invited to The Vatican to sculpt sand for Pope Francesco and have worked for The White House Commission of Remembrance on the beaches of Normandy, France!
He has earned many international and world titles in sand sculpture: 5-time International Champion at The Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach USA; 6-time American Champion at The American Sand Sculpting Championship in Ft Myers Florida USA; World Champion by peoples’ choice and Grand Master Champion at The World Championship in Harrison Hot Springs BC Canada; 2-time first place at the International Championship in Jesolo, Italy; and many more awards in many other countries around the world such as Italy, England, Peru, Qatar, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, Japan, to name a few!

Laura Gowdy

Laura Cimador-Gowdy comes from Castelfranco Veneto, Italy (near Venice). She has earned her master's degree in Modern Languages and speaks two languages fluidly, Italian and English. Her interest in the arts led her to the beaches of Jesolo, Italy in 2005 where she met her husband John Gowdy who was working there at a sand event. They married on the beach of Fort Myers Beach, Florida in 2011.

She fell in love with sand sculpture and now Laura and John have teamed up in the competitive world of sand sculpture. They have won many awards as a two-person team in world class sand events in Cervia, Italy and Texas Sandfest 2019. In 2011 they won the nationally televised "Sand Wars" professional sand sculpting competition in Siesta Key, Florida. On April 18, 2018 Laura and John had the honor of being invited to the Vatican, Rome to personally meet Pope Francis and donate to him a sand sculpture which was carved inside Saint Peter’s Basilica.

They have recently teamed up to compete in the Canadian reality show Race Against the Tide where they challenged the Bay of Fundy's tide.




sidew 1st solo

2022 Solo First place

side 1st place doubles

2022 Doubles First place

Recently named America's #1 Beach, the Siesta Key Crystal Classic has become a favorite of the professional sand sculptors who have competed here.




The free Siesta Key Breeze Trolley runs daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm to and from Siesta Key Village and Turtle Beach. A mobile app is available to track the trolley in real time.

New transportation on and off Siesta Key is now available via Sarasota County’s OnDemand Service.

Customers can request a ride via a mobile app, which is available in app stores for iPhone and Android devices, online at, or by calling 941-300-1553. OnDemand uses accessible minivans and operates similarly to today’s popular ridesharing services like Uber and Lift. The OnDemand vehicle will pick up customers and take them to their destinations within the same zone.