It's an a-maze-ing sight to see on Sunset Beach if you stumble upon one of Hunter Gibbes's life size mazes.
Gibbes, also known as the Sunset Beach Maze Man, started making life-size mazes on Sunset Beach about 13 years ago.
He and his family came to Sunset Beach every year for vacation.
One day, Gibbes said he decided to drift away from his family on the beach and went off to draw a maze in the sand.
This was the first time he had ever done this but said it was easy to get the hang of.
"I don't come up with a design, I just make it up as I go along," Gibbes said. "I'll start out with something like a set of circles and then you can just ad-lib and make it up as you go along. And if you need more room, you just make another lane and there it is."
Gibbes doesn't have any sort of training in maze-making. He's not an artist, mathematician or anything of the sort. It just comes naturally to him.
"Engineer, no. Architect, no," Gibbes said. "I work in the IT field but the mazes out on the beach, I just have a knack for I guess. It’s something I like doing and I put a lot of time and effort into to bring a lot of pleasure to everybody.”
And beach-goers certainly enjoy the entertainment he brings them.
Gibbes says people are always a little confused as to what he’s doing when they see him making the maze. They’re even confused when they stumble upon one. But that usually never stops them from trying to solve it.
“My favorite part is the people that go through it,” Gibbes said. “The enjoyment that they have. If I’ve done a good job stumping them on where to go and how to get there, it’s going to give me enjoyment.”
He says watching people go through the maze is like clockwork. He can tell when they’re stumped and when they’ve figured it out.
When they’re stumped, he says they put up “the finger,” meaning they try to follow a path with their finger to figure out their next move. And he knows when they’ve figured it out because they’ll start walking faster.
About 10 months ago, Gibbes and his wife Linda decided to permanently move to Sunset Beach.
Gibbes typically makes at least one maze a week. He says they can take anywhere from an hour to two hours to make.
The biggest maze he has ever made was a circular maze that was 17 circles wide and held 60-70 people inside of it at once.
“It’s just a lot of fun from both sides,” Gibbes said. “Whether people are watching people go through. Or whether they’re going through. Or once they’ve gone through and then then watch other people go through. The whole dynamic of it is just very entertaining.”
If you want to try out one of The Maze Man’s mazes, you can check out his Facebook page. He posts the location of where he has drawn a maze once it is complete.
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