N.B. ice sculptor rides the wave to third place in national competition

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Inspired by his love for surfing, Joel Palmer sculpted a surfer riding a wave for his contest submission.
Inspired by his love for surfing, Joel Palmer sculpted a surfer riding a wave for his contest submission.

(Submitted by Joel Palmer - image credit)

A New Brunswick sculptor's ice carving has placed third in a national competition.

Joel Palmer competed against six others in the Winterlude National Ice-Carving Competition. Heritage Canada organized the event that was held virtually due to the pandemic.

"That's definitely an honour because there's some really good carvers out there," he said.

The Browns Flat resident had two days to create a piece that followed the theme of winter fun.

Inspired by his love of surfing, Palmer carved a figure riding a wave that curled up into a detailed ring.

"I kind of reached outside of the box and thought of a personal activity that resonated with me, that I always enjoyed doing in the winter," he said.

It took the artist about 20 hours of cutting into blocks of ice with a chainsaw. He's also known for wood carvings created at his studio, Swamp Bear Art.

Palmer went to Halifax in January to make his sculpture. He was joined by a production crew that documented his creative process for a video.

More than 30,000 people cast ballots online based on overall impression, concept, creativity and originality, quality of technical work and attention to detail.

"Maybe people enjoyed how it was a little bit different from the norm," Palmer said.

"I did something that resonated in my heart and I think it also touched the hearts of the people that voted for me."

Palmer got the news during a virtual announcement.

"It's always nice to get these placements," he said. "It just reassures that what I'm doing with my time and my work as an artist is being recognized."