Dark clouds kept inching closer and the winds were making the water at the Jordanelle Reservoir choppy on Saturday morning, but the PC SUP Cup standup paddleboard race went on without a hitch.
The clouds stayed in the distance until the event was over, leaving periods of sunshine beating down on the competitors as they made their way around the one-mile course.
Park City Standup Paddleboarding founder Trent Hickman, the SUP Cup organizer, said the conditions made for a challenging but exciting race.
"We got really lucky once again with the weather," he said. "We seem to be flying under good weather every time we run this, thank goodness. It's been raining the past few days and it's scheduled to rain the next few days, but today it was sunny with a light breeze. It was perfect."
After the one mile kids' and surfboard-style races, and after the two-mile and three-mile open-class races, it was time for the elite racers to duke it out for the SUP Cup crown.
Kristian Mulholland, who won the first PC SUP Cup elite race in June, successfully defended his title, this time with a narrow victory over Derek Elbert.
"Last time it was Trent and I duking it out and this time Derek and I were battling," Mulholland said. "It's always great to have good competition out there to race against."
He said he liked the way the course was set up this time, which presented different challenges from the half-mile June course.
"The conditions today there was more wind," he said. "And as the course was set up, there were long stretches on one side, which made it pretty demanding to deal with the side chop (from the waves) with your legs. SUP is an all-body workout."
And, he added, the course was longer than advertised.
"It actually ended up being a 4.7-mile race instead of four," he said. "That lends itself to a bit more pain out there."
Hickman said the battle for the elite race crown was fun to watch from his position on the water.
"Kristian and Derek put down an impressive performance," he said. "They were working together and drafting off one another it was great."
Hickman's favorite race of the day, however, was the kids' race. The soon-to-be father enjoys getting kids involved in the paddleboarding community.
"We had a ton of kids out here it was so cool," he said. "We had parents who paddled alongside their kids to make sure they were safe and having a good time. There were some really impressive performances from the kids out there."
In general, Hickman was happy with the way the event turned out.
"We had a lot of support from some familiar faces and some new faces," he said. "The standup paddle family continues to grow here in Park City."
Mulholland said he hopes the community continues to grow.
"I see it growing a lot on the recreational side," he said. "It'd be fun to see if we could grow it on the competitive side, too. Park City is a great place with a lot of competitive people."
And, he added, he always enjoys coming out to the SUP Cup.
"Trent does a great job putting on an amazing race and getting awesome sponsors and great prizes," he said.