YOLO Seaside Celebration - Great White Sharks Not Included

September 15, 2010 by Jenny Etheredge

Tom and Jeff believe you only live once. What could be more satisfying than sharing that philosophy with millions? But they don't just tell it, they prove it.

When Jeff Archer and Tom Losee created YOLO Board in 2006, they shared a goal to introduce stand up paddle boarding (SUP) to South Walton.

(Sharks?!? see video below)

A major part of their strategy was to create events that were new and exciting.  

Their first venture was The YOLO Board Stand-Up Paddle Series, a five-part race series that takes place on SoWal's coastal dune lakes and includes four-member relay teams.  The popular paddle series has continued to grow and expand, and just finished its third season in August. 

The community’s enthusiasm for the series inspired the duo to create The YOLO Board Seaside Celebration in 2009, a benefit race event for two young locals, Holly Burke and Jason Thompson who were both battling cancer.  Archer and Losee wanted to create a SUP event that had the potential to grow into a larger scale race event while still remaining grounded in the South Walton community.

The inaugural celebration was a success raising over $10,000 for Holly and Jason’s families and sparking YOLO Board to turn the YOLO Board Seaside Celebration into an annual event. 

This year’s celebration returns to Seaside September 15th – 18th with an array of SUP-inspired activities designed to treat both participants and spectators alike.  The 2010 celebration has expanded to include both a Recreation Class Three Mile Race and an Elite Class Seven Mile Race as the headlining events on September 18th.  Both races will be held in the Gulf in front of Seaside and include different levels of prizes for winners in each division. 

Other activities include two SUP clinics held during the days prior to the race, a free concert by popular Northwest Florida-based group HERITAGE and a Silent Auction Fundraiser to benefit the South Walton Fire District Junior Lifeguard Program.

The South Walton Fire District Junior Lifeguard Program was selected as the beneficiary for 2010 celebration because Archer and Losee wanted to support and inspire the future watermen of SoWal.  The program offers area children ages nine through 15 the opportunity to learn beach and water safety in a fun-filled team environment with instruction from Gary Wise, South Walton Fire District Safety Director, accomplished waterman and SUP racer. 

The goals of the program are to teach children the basics of weather and water conditions, rescue techniques, beach safety systems, sun health and nutrition.  Children participate in relay-style drills, learn paddling techniques and get to experience what it is like to be a lifeguard.  Upon completion of the program, Junior Lifeguards have the opportunity to compete in regional and national lifeguard competitions through the United States Lifesaving Association.

Expect to see SUP Celebrities and SUPers from across the nation at this year’s celebration including special guests Chuck Patterson and Nikki Gregg.  California based Patterson is a noted Big Wave Surfer and all-around waterman who has competed professionally in tow surfing, SUP, surfing, kiteboarding, skiing and snowboarding.  He recently received national attention for filming Great White Sharks from his stand up paddleboard with an underwater camera (see video below).

Patterson will teach a special pre-race clinic on September 17th designed to help racers refine their paddling techniques and enhance their competitive edge.  Gregg, founder of Hawaii based NRG Lifestyle Fitness Training ( is widely considered the ‘First Lady of SUP’ and is a certified SUP Master Instructor.  She will host an NRG Boot Camp on September 15th and 16th that offers an intense stand up paddleboard workout.

The races are open to the public and participants can register online and onsite at Seaside the morning of the event.  The Silent Auction Fundraiser which will include raffles and giveaways and the free concert by HERITAGE will both be held in the Seaside Amphitheatre on Saturday, September 18th following the races. 

For additional information, visit


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