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Wolfeboro pair turns water recreation into vocation

Special to the Union Leader

June 29. 2014 6:52PM
Lake Life Lessons founders Thomas Anderson, right, and Owen Donnelly, with L3 coach and deck hand Kristen O'Keefe at the Wolfeboro Town Docks. (LARISSA MULKERN)

WOLFEBORO — Entrepreneurs Thomas Anderson and Owen Donnelly log 12-hour days during the height of the summer season, but since they are toiling at what they love, it doesn’t seem like work at all.

The duo formed “Lake Life Lessons,” also known as “L3,” about three years ago and these days spend their time coaching kids and adults of all ages to wakeboard, water-ski, wake surf, kneeboard and tube across Lake Winnipesaukee.

Their mission: to spread their love of wakeboarding to their clients.

“This is our office,” said Anderson, 25, from the Wolfeboro Town Docks overlooking the Big Lake and the company’s boat, a 19-foot Marlin Magnum that accommodates two L3 coaches and four customers per excursion. L3s fleet includes a pontoon boat for tours and excursions.

The L3 team includes Rob Hale, a coach, and Kristen O’Keefe, who helps out as a deck hand and with L3’s social media.

Anderson, who took up wakeboarding as a teenager, has competed in the New England INT League for Wakeboarding, placing first in his division in 2010.

In addition to waterspouts lessons and paddleboard rentals, L3 has added guided scenic tours on Lake Winnipesaukee and guided hiking excursions in the Lakes Region for this season.

L3’s marketing toolbox includes all the social media tricks of the trade — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., — plus old fashion community outreach. Once again this year Anderson, Donnelly and staff will outfit a float or their vehicle with L3 equipment and hand out flyers during the popular Wolfeboro Independence Day parade. They’ve participated in numerous community festivals such as the Nick Fest and the Chunky Dunk, and work closely with the town’s recreation department.

“We’re bringing awareness back to the sport of wakeboarding. You go down to Florida, and people wakeboard and water ski every day,” Anderson said. “Here, people do it but it’s not as big. Some say, ‘hey I haven’t water skied in 20 years.’ Those are the people we want to grab and bring back to the sport.”

Anderson, a graduate of Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., studied business and took an entrepreneurship class where he developed L3’s basic business plan. The first summer, startup costs ran between $10,000 and $12,000. There were hurdles — a boat engine blew after the first year and needed to be replaced. Anderson’s grandmother Pat Anderson helped pay for a new one.

The following year, they purchased new gear such as boards and life jackets. Currently, they have equipment for all sizes. The latest investment was the pontoon boat that will allow L3 to diversify its offerings to tours. The pontoon boat, as well as the motorboat, are already booked for an Independence Day fireworks viewing trip in Wolfeboro Bay, when the clients will enjoy the views rather than splash around in the water.

Classes and tours book up quickly, but Anderson said he’s glad to recommend other available boats and local service providers depending upon the customers’ needs.

“I feel like a concierge of the lake,” Anderson said.His partner, Donnelly, who has a degree in exercise science from Sacred Heart College in Connecticut, drives the boat, takes charge of safety and coaches kids and adults.“Working with your best friend — you can’t ask for more than that,” Donnelly said.For more information, visit, or to make a reservation call Anderson at 603-986-4332, or email

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