People LOVE this Christie on the beach! Watch talented sand sculptors make it happen
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SEASIDE HEIGHTS — Just when you thought the internet couldn’t handle more Chris Christie … one more image of the governor enjoying the beach is making the rounds.
Pictures of the governor and his family sitting on an otherwise empty Island Beach State Park went went viral this weekend — over indignation the governor could enjoy the state park while it was shut down with the rest of the state government. They prompted memes and Photoshop masterpieces.
But none had the 3D “pop” of a colorful sand sculpture that turned up in Seaside Heights.
The sculpture shows the governor sitting on a beach chair — much as he’s seen in aerial pictures by NJ Advance Media — with “I (heart) NJ” on the back. He’s wearing the baseball cap spokesperson Brian Murray joked about when confronted about why Christie told reporters he didn’t get any sun on Sunday. “He did not get any sun, He had a baseball hat on,” Murray now-infamously said.
And the sand Christie was seated next to a shark, because … why not?
It was signed “@thebikiniboys” — a group of friends that creates sand sculptures in Seaside Heights at least once a week throughout the summer.
One o the “Boys” is Thomas Oldewurtel, 55, a mailman in Flemington. He told New Jersey 101.5 one of his friends made the suggestion and showed them the now-infamous Christie photos.
“We thought ‘yeah we could do that.’ She made the suggestion and we just went with it. Turned out to be a big hit,” Oldewurtel said.
“It’s a lot of work. It takes about three or four hours, sometimes five hours depending on what you’re doing and how big it is,” Oldewurtel said.
Larry Watkins was in charge of shoveling a big pile of sand to work with for the project.
“It’s half sand, half water,” Oldewurtel said. “As soon as you get it high enough and you have an idea of what you want to do you have to start carving like crazy” before it dries out. The sculpture is colored using food coloring.
He said people were posing for pictures with sculptures and commenting about the governor on the beach as it became apparent what they were creating.
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“One lady was very upset because she really wanted to go to Island Beach State Park,” Oldewurtel said. He had had been there a few weeks earlier and described it as “beautiful.”
Oldewurtel said that he believes Christie cares deeply about the state but his being on the beach during the shutdown sent the wrong message.
“He should have thought twice about that one,” he said.
Watkins, a commercial hardhat diver, rounds out the Bikini Boys team along with friend and state auditor Dave Bobal, Bobal’s daughter Tori, and Bryan Kobylarz.
Seaside Heights Director of Special Events Mike Graichen told New Jersey 101.5 the sculpture was not sanctioned by the borough and was done privately.
Comments online about the sculpture were almost uniformly critical of Christie.
“I thought seeing him jumping up and down like a buffoon in the Cowboys owner’s luxury box was bad optics. …. this takes the cake,” Donna Beach commented on the Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page. “This is great …. but he had a hat on so he didn’t get any sun,” Marilyn Elkland Orthouse commented.
Christie had at least one supporter in the comments.
“Too bad it had a bad artist, it doesn’t look like C.C., he guards the Jersey Shore with all his heart and soul.”
The sculpture was destroyed by the end of the day, according to NBC 4 New York.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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