Laura Cimador-Gowdy and John Gowdy

Laura Cimador-Gowdy and John Gowdy

Laura Cimador-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. She is an elementary teacher.

Laura also loves fine art and has taken painting instructions from a famous painter in Italy, Angelo Gatto.

Her interest in the arts led her to the beaches of Jesolo, Italy where she met her husband John Gowdy who was working there at a sand sculpting event. After communicating for many years, they married on the beach of Fort Myers, 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. In 2020 John and Laura participated in a reality show called Race Against The Tide in New Brunswick, Canada.

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.

Every summer, as she has done the past seventeen years, she works with John at events up and down the eastern coast of the United States from New York City to Marco Island, Florida and many locations in between.

John Gowdy

John 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
  • Two-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!




2022 Solo First place


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, open-air Breeze Siesta Key Trolley runs daily from 8am to 10pm between Siesta Key Village and Turtle Beach.

Transportation from Siesta Key Mall or Gulf Gate Station to Siesta Key is provided through Breeze OnDemand.

Customers can request a ride through the OnDemand by Sarasota County mobile app, through the website, or by calling 941-300-1553. Each trip costs $2 per passenger and can pickup and drop-off at any Siesta Key address. Rides can be booked for 1 to 4 passengers. Other customers may be picked up or dropped off during each trip.