SUP Festival aims to continue growth of the sport | ParkRecord.com

SUP Festival aims to continue growth of the sport

Hickman expects near-perfect water conditions for event

For Park City Standup Paddle Boarding Founder Trent Hickman, there's nothing quite like gliding through the water on his paddleboard.

Whether he's taking a scenic, slower route or pushing through a grueling 10-mile paddle, Hickman sometimes finds it hard to explain the sport's beauty to newcomers.

Hickman, however, hopes to do just that when Park City Standup Paddle Boarding hosts its sixth annual SUP Festival at the Jordanelle Reservoir on Saturday and Sunday.

"I think this event does a really good job of exposing the other side of the sport to some people who might not realize what it can be," Hickman said. "Stand-up paddleboarding, when you take it to the next level, is so good for the human body. You kind of see that side of things when you come to the events.

"You see what it looks like when someone is really applying themselves to propel the board through the water. They're using everything from their hands to their feet. Their skills are on display when they walk around on the board. Paddleboarding is very diverse."

The SUP Festival — which features activities such as racing, yoga, wake surfing and camping — has grown in popularity in its five years of existence. The two-day event will feature all sorts of competitions, including co-ed tandem races, kids races, elite races and more.

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Catered food and music by the Patwa Reggae Band will also be available throughout the weekend.

"[The tandem race] is one of my favorites," Hickman said. "You've got two people on one board, a guy and a girl, working together to race around the course. If they're not working together, one of them — or both of them — will surely go into the water."

While fun is sure to be expected, Hickman said, it's the intoxicating vibe surrounding the paddleboarding community that gets those interested hooked for life.

"We have a core of participants who just love the family vibe of stand-up paddleboarding," Hickman said. "I'm sure it exists in triathlons and cycling, but stand-up paddleboarders are just so friendly toward each other. There's a lot of equipment sharing and knowledge sharing. It's just a really fun group of people to be around."

With the event being an outdoor one, Hickman hopes the current forecast, which calls for sun and temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, remains the same. The water levels, which were at 100 percent capacity as of Thursday morning, are perfect for the weekend's event, Hickman said.

Before starting the festival six years ago, Hickman recalls road trips to Lake Tahoe in California in order to attend a paddleboarding event. An advantage of hosting the SUP Festival in Park City is the fact that local paddleboarders won't have to travel far distances.

"I'm just so excited that my hard work in organizing and committing to continuing these events is enjoyed by the local paddleboarding community," Hickman said. "It means a lot to me, and people don't have to travel far away for a quality event."

For those interested in participating in the event, information is available on the organization's website. However, Hickman doesn't want to limit the festival to just those who are willing to go out on the water. In fact, he encourages those who may be intrigued to stop by and spectate.

"It's free to come out," Hickman said. "You don't have to pay anything to come spectate and enjoy the good music and watch some really good surfing and paddle boarding.

"This year is going to be a special year."

The first day of the SUP Festival will take place on Saturday, where activities will begin at 7 a.m. and go until roughly noon. Sunday's schedule will also start at 7 a.m. with a similar timeline. For more information or to register for the event, visit parkcitysup.com.