SUP Festival ignites summer season
June 26, 2015
A record number of water enthusiasts flocked to the Park City SUP Festival at the Jordanelle Reservoir last weekend, kicking off the summer with several paddleboard and water-related activities.
As the sport of standup paddleboarding continues to gain popularity nationally, Park City Standup Paddleboarding owner Trent Hickman said this year’s SUP Festival attracted many newcomers in addition to several veterans of the sport.
"I think we had record numbers," he said. "The open race was incredibly well attended. There were tons of people who came out to demo boards and check out the scene. We can confidently say we had record-level turnouts. It was phenomenal to see how many people were out there."
The weekend’s great weather didn’t hurt attendance, Hickman said, as people flocked to the water to escape the heat. This is also the time of year when the Jordanelle has its highest water levels, he added.
"It was amazing," he said. "It was so nice to have sunshine. It was pretty calm all day Saturday and then we were able to get through most of the stuff on Sunday before the wind picked up. It was really sunny and warm out, but there were some gnarly waves and whitecaps."
Park City Standup Paddleboarding has traditionally held its events later in the summer season, but Hickman said he plans to host events at the season’s start.
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"I feel like it kind of got everyone excited about the summer season," he said. "There are some other events that are starting to happen, too, like the Triple Threat race series. We’re definitely going to look to build on the success of the festival-style event."
After hosting the Park City SUP Cup races in previous years, Trent Hickman said the plan for this year was to expand into SUP activities other than racing.
"This year, we definitely adjusted the format," he said. "We re-titled the event and I think we finally found our [permanent] title for it. We called it the Park City SUP Festival because we wanted to focus more on everything related to life in, on and around the water and not so much just on the races."
Hickman said there were beach activities, demos and other non-racing options for participants this year.
"We had a lot of board demos from Glide and Riviera Paddle Surf," he said. "Kahuna Creations, a Utah company, came out and was demonstrating their skateboards and land paddles. We had a nighttime paddle with torchlight paddles and a bunch of fun stuff that wasn’t so specific to the races. It was really nice to get all those other activities, like sand volleyball, going. It was more about everyone coming together to celebrate life on the water."
This year’s festival also included racing, a dog SUP parade, SUP surfing, board demos and other various SUP and water-related activities, but Hickman said he’s always looking for ideas for new events. Someone this year suggested a SUP fishing tournament.
"We’re definitely going to throw that right in next year," he said. "We’ll give people 30-40 minutes to troll lures and see who can come up with the biggest fish."
Money raised from this year’s SUP Festival benefited Recycle Utah, an organization Hickman is particularly fond of.
"One of their main missions is preserving clean water resources, like teaching people how to throw away their batteries and how to throw away things so they don’t end up in our reservoirs," he said. "The main driver is that, if we don’t have clean, usable water for drinking, then realistically, we don’t have clean, usable water for standup paddleboarding. We love playing on the water, we love being around the water and we definitely want to teach people to conserve and preserve water."
To learn more about Park City Standup Paddleboarding, visit http://www.parkcitysup.com .
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