Racers battle it out on the paddleboard | ParkRecord.com

Racers battle it out on the paddleboard

Christopher Kamrani, The Park Record

Competitors skimmed across the surface, dipping their elongated paddles into the pristine water.

The first annual Pau Hana PC SUP Cup took place Saturday morning and more than 70 competitors took to the water at Jordanelle Reservoir to vie for a chance to be called a stand-up paddleboarding champion.

PC SUP owner and operator Trent Hickman said the event he’s been dreaming of putting on for years now went off smoothly.

"It was a great turnout," he said. "We had a lot of viewers and competitors — men and women, some people in their 60s, spectators and participants — just lot of community support."

Hickman said he had roughly 40 pre-registered athletes for the race, but had a boom of day-of sign-ups that widened his smile even more.

"We had a bunch of people," he said. "I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from people. I want to be able to grow it up to be a destination event. I definitely want it to maintain a local, community and grassroots feel to it, no matter how big the event gets.

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"I want it to represent Park City and the local companies who sponsor the event."

The next scheduled race of the three-part series is slated for Aug.11, with the third and final SUP Cup to come Sept. 8. Hickman said he spread the races out in order to give Utah paddleboarders a chance to experience other competitions and events statewide. In early August, the Outdoor Retailer is scheduled to return to Utah with the open-air demo coming back to Jordanelle on Wednesday, Aug. 1. That day will also feature the Paddle/Pedal Challenge, which will be stand-up paddleboarding and mountain-bike racing with a half-mile flat-water sprint and then a 2.5-mile road and trail ride at the scenic Jordanelle Reservoir. Hickman said the Utah Summer Games return to Deer Creek Reservoir this summer as well.

"I definitely want to raise awareness for the next race in August," he said, "but there’s some really fun events coming up as well. I intentionally left a gap to respect those races."

He said he’d like to eclipse the century mark in terms of participants for the next SUP Cup, and he thinks it’s doable. Whether folks are competing or watching, Hickman said just having people there and engaged is what’s most important.

The next race will feature a 14-foot paddleboard race, which is another class in addition to the traditional elite 12-foot, six-inch board most athletes use.

"I want to get feedback from the community and those who want to race," he said. "While it is my event, it means nothing without the community."

For more information on the SUP Cup series and paddleboarding, visit http://www.pcsupcup.com.