Ride the river with Park City SUP
Standup paddleboarding doesn’t normally invoke thoughts of helmets, life jackets, elbow pads and knee pads. While it is mostly a sport done on calm, open waters, Park City Standup Paddleboarding is now offering a more extreme version of the sport for those who have plenty of experience on their boards.
Small groups of between two and six people can sign up for half-day river tour trips to either the Weber or Provo rivers, but Park City SUP Owner Trent Hickman said the river tours aren’t for first-timers.
"Paddling in the river is definitely more geared toward people who have been paddling for a little bit and want to take their SUP skills into a new environment," he said. "The river is really fun — moving water and nice scenery. But then there are also rapids and the risk of falling off the board and contacting the bottom. A traditional life jacket and a helmet are definitely recommended."
Because of the danger, Hickman likes to ensure tour groups are comfortable with their boards on flat water.
"You want to have good board-handling skills on flat, non-moving water," he said. "Once you’ve got that mastered, we’d love to take you out on the river."
Hickman likened the river tours to other activities many in the Park City community enjoy.
"It’s just like anything else we do, whether you’re on a mountain bike bombing down a hill or on your skis in powder snow," he said. "It’s a challenge to stay balanced and stay on your board and you get that little buzz of adrenaline knowing there’s potential consequence to a wipeout."
The Weber and Provo rivers provide plenty of scenic riding, as well as challenging stretches of rapids, Hickman said.
"The Provo canyon is gorgeous and the Weber River offers some challenging water to paddle on," he said. "The Lower Provo has nice flow. It has nice water depth and it’s really clear. You can see a lot of big trout and you can see the bottom in a lot of areas. The Weber River, we put in at Henefer and you go through some pretty challenging stuff. I’d say the Weber is probably a little more technical than the Provo."
Hickman said Park City SUP keeps the river tour groups small for safety and to ensure all have ample opportunity to cruise the moving waters.
"For a river tour, we like to have at least two people and we’ll cap it off around six people," he said. "On the river, there’s no pause button. If you get too big of groups, it can get pretty hard to keep people together."
Two members of the Park City SUP organization accompany each tour, Hickman said.
"We provide a driver to drop the group off and a guide who will go down the river with the group," he said. "Then, the driver will be at the take-out spot to pick the group up."
In order to book a river tour through Park City SUP, interested parties can either email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-558-9878. To learn more about Park City Standup Paddleboarding, visit http://www.parkcitysup.com .
Steele DeWald has his life in Park City down to a routine. After some strange encounters in his 20s, he’s OK with the mundane.