At home on the water
June 4, 2013
Growing up in Utah, Trent Hickman’s dreams of becoming a professional surfer were dashed at an early age.
But watching the 36-year-old founder of Park City Standup Paddleboarding glide across the water on his 14-foot racing-style paddleboard, it’s clear that he’s at home on the water.
Now he’s trying to share his love of the water with the people of Park City through PC SUP. Since starting the business four years ago, Hickman can usually be found by the ponds at lower Deer Valley, giving lessons and teaching classes.
He said the sport has become more popular each of the four years he’s run PC SUP.
"It’s growing exponentially year after year," he said. "And there’s good reason for it. It’s good for the body and it’s really fun."
Though he can usually be found on the slopes during the winter, he shifts his focus to the water as soon as it warms up. In fact, he loves surfing and water so much he used to live in Costa Rica during the summers.
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Hickman was bartending at the Blind Dog in Park City when a friend invited him down to his Costa Rica home on the shores of the Caribbean.
"He invited me down for a surfing trip and I literally fell in love with the place," he said. "I decided I needed to be down there."
Hickman jumped at the opportunity, opting to spend winters shredding in Park City and summers surfing in Costa Rica. He ended up spending five years bouncing between the two locations.
"I kind of tuned in to Costa Rica, and I enjoy the culture and the people," he said. "And the waves are plentiful and frequent."
Living in Park City full time the past several years, he said he sometimes misses the beach.
"I’m trying to work back into that Park City/Costa Rica mix somehow," he said. "Maybe winters and summers in Park City and springs and falls in Costa Rica."
He took up paddleboarding as a way to stay active during the times when he was in Park City during the summer and, therefore, wasn’t surfing.
"As I transitioned out of (surfing), I tried standup paddleboarding," he said. "The first time I stood on the board, I knew I was going to be involved in it."
From there, everything fell into place for his new career.
"I’ve got a background in personal training and fitness," he said. "And then, as a surfer, everything just clicked. Here I am, still tied into beach culture in Park City and I’m still on the water."
PC SUP is expanding its offerings in response to growing interest in the sport. SUP yoga is one of the newest trends becoming more popular.
"The act of just being on a paddleboard will make your balance improve," Hickman said. "When you put yoga moves into that mix, it activates all your stabilizers. It’s a really neat component to both yoga and SUP."
Additionally, on Sept. 14, PC SUP will host the second-annual Paddle/Pedal/Paddle race.
"It’s a really unique event we’re growing in Park City," Hickman said. "It’s essentially a five-mile paddle on your race board. That should take just over an hour. Then, you jump on your bike and do 10 miles on the mountain bike trail with 3,000 vertical feet of change. And then you get off your bike and, after you’ve cooked your legs, you’ve got to get back on your board and do five more miles of paddleboarding."
He said the Paddle/Pedal/Paddle was inspired by the increasing interest in long-distance events like the Ironman and Tough Mudder races.
"People want something that’s going to really challenge them," he said. "So that’s where (the Paddle/Pedal/Paddle) came from. It took me about three hours and 20 minutes to do it last year."
While this event may be too challenging for some, he said, there’s a level of paddleboarding that’s right for nearly everyone.
"It’s kind of like one person does it and they have to tell someone. Then that person tells someone," he said. "Given the right wind and water conditions, anyone can do it. It’s accessible to the masses."
And, at the end of the day, Hickman said, nothing beats a day spent out on the water.
"You’re cruising a board through water," he said. "It’s just perfect."