In its very first year in Costa Rica, the 2013 Offshore World Championship hosted 67 teams from 31 different countries who had earned the invitation to the event by winning one of the 120 qualifying offshore tournaments held around the world. The 324 anglers experienced a record setting bite for the tournament, recording 821 billfish releases, including 811 sailfish, nine blue marlin and one striped marlin.
To earn points, teams were required to video the releases of all billfish and could weigh a maximum of two game fish per species per day of tuna, wahoo or dorado over the minimum 25-pound minimum weight.
Every team in this year’s event recorded at least two sailfish releases, with the fleet averaging 12.25 releases per team for the event. The beautiful Parador Hotel served as the host for the boat draw, rules meeting and festive kick-of party where participants and guests enjoyed dinner, local dance teams and a live music.
During the four days of fishing anglers boarded the quality fleet of Costa Rica charter boats at the new Marina Pez Vela development. This was the first time that over 80-percent of the charter fleet in Costa Rica gathered at one location and the tournament represented the largest offshore catch & release competition ever held in Costa Rica.
After a fantastic day on the water the teams were greeted with a spectacular dockside social, including the Flor de Cana rum and model station, a frozen margarita station, the MPV beer station, live music and food provided by Villas Lirio.
The tournament culminated with an amazing awards gala at Marina Pez Vela featuring dinner, drinks, several live entertainers and fireworks. The winners enjoyed the accolades of their fellow anglers from around the world and quality prizes and trophies, including the Championship rings from Vanmark Jewelry, bronze trophies from Geoffrey Smith, AFTCO championship clothing, Guy Harvey artwork, Garmin electronics, King Sailfish mounts trophies, Fin-Nor reels, Yeti coolers, Accurate reels, Seaguar leader, Maverick Yacht charter, Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Tournament vacation and Flor de Cana rum. Everyone had a fantastic time!
When the team of anglers from the Bahamas, representing the Lyford Cay Billfish tournament, (Paul King, Kristian Kwiecinski, Jimmy Bernard, Keith Kelty, Geoffrey O’Connell) arrived in Costa Rica they wondered if this might be their year. The team had qualified and competed four times in the past and were bride’s maids twice, finishing second in 2010 and 2011. The team pre-fished several days trying to learn the drop-back technique used to catch Pacific sailfish, as well as to feel out some of the boats and crews that would be in the tournament. On the final day of the tournament the team found itself trailing the leaders by 2,400-points -- a seemingly insurmountable lead. The leaders at that time, the GFA of Papua New Guinea, entered into the final day with 5,200-points.
The Bahamas team enjoyed an incredible day and never dwelled on what was happening on the radio. Upon their return to the dock they heard they had the lead, but would need all 16 releases to make it through the video check in. One of their catches did not qualify, so that meant they were tied at 5,800-points but were second on time. Luckily, the team also came to the dock with a dorado to weigh, and the 27-pounder – just two pounds over the minimum – pushed Team Bahamas over the top with 5,827-points and the win in the 2013 Offshore World Championship. It proved to be the closest margin of victory in tournament history.
The team received Championship rings from Vanmark Jewelry, bronze trophies from Geoffrey Smith, Fin-Nor reels, Guy Harvey Artwork, Championship apparel, rod belts and release gloves from AFTCO, Garmin electronics, Flor de Can rum and Yeti cooler. The team also earned a lifetime invitation to compete in the Championship.
The GFA of Papua New Guinea Team, including Peter Diezmann, Wayne Andrews, Stephen Lindeman and Kerry Symes, enjoyed a fantastic tournament as well, releasing 26 sailfish for 5,200 points and second place honors. They were the top scoring team on Day Two and Day Three, and headed into the final day with a big lead. Their final day boat draw was on one of the more productive boats in the tournament so most felt they would win going away. Team GFA of PNG did release three more sails getting them to 5800-points and caught a dorado on the final day, but the dorado didn’t make the minimum weight so they ended up taking second overall. Team member Peter Diezmann scored 2,000 points earning third place angler awards. Team GFA of PNG received Geoffrey Smith bronze trophies, Fin-Nor reels, Guy Harvey artwork, Flor de Cana rum, Yeti cooler and an application to compete in the 2014 Championship.
Holding on to third place with 4,300 points from 19 sails and one blue marlin release, team Presidential Challenge of Guatemala, including American anglers Wayne Decker, Michael Viveiros, Daniel Birley, Craig Sudbrink and Michael Huling, were probably one of the more experienced teams to fish the event. Their best day came on Day three with the team catching seven sails and one of the nine blue marlin caught during the tournament. They added four more sailfish releases on the final day to narrowly beat out the hard charging Western Australia Open team on time. The team representing the Presidential Challenge of Guatemala received Geoffrey Smith bronze trophies, Fin-Nor reels, Guy Harvey artwork, Flor de Cana rum, Yeti cooler and an application to compete in the 2014 event.
The Offshore World Championship recognizes the top six anglers in the competition and this year’s winner was a true Cinderella story. The two-man team representing the Western Australia Open tournament in Perth, Australia, Ivan Erceg and Capt. Craig White, started the vacation celebration early on the plane ride from Australia to the states, and were denied entry on their flight to Cost Rica from Texas. They managed to arrange a plane the following day through Miami and their zest for life and unique look made them tournament favorites among the anglers. They were there to have a good time first and whatever came their way on the water was icing on the cake. After the first two days of fishing they released four sails and sat in 45th position and couldn’t be happier. However, during the final two days everything fell into place for the team, and they caught 15 sails and a blue, putting them in 4th place and earning Craig White the top angler award for releasing 12 sails and one blue. White received a beautiful King Sailfish Mount trophy, Accurate reel and Guy Harvey artwork.
The tournament awards the top three crews of the tournament for their professionalism and performance during the event. In the end the crew on Epic lead by Captain Mike Alligood and mate Randal Garcia Canales shined brightest catching one blue and 26 sailfish for their anglers earning a total of 5700-points.
Sweet Dreams took second scoring 4835-points from 24 sails and 35-pound dorado. Capt. Rudy Arguedas Soto and mate Esteban Gallo Gonzalez
Sea Hawk scored 4827-points from 24 sails and 27-pound dorado to take third. Capt. Franklin Arrieta Jimenez and mate Dempsey Avila Perez.
Final Standings for all divisions:
> Presidential Challenge of Guatemala 4300-points from 1 blue and 19 sails. Wayne Decker, Michael Viveiros, Daniel Birley, Craig Sudbrink, Michael Huling. From the USA
> GFA of PNG National Titles 5800-points from 29 sails. Peter Diezmann, Wayne Andrews, Stephen Lindeman, Kerry Symes.
> Lyford Cay Offshore Tournament Bahamas, 5827-points from 29 sails and one 27-pound dolphin. On the final day the team rallied catching 15-sails and the 27-pound dorado. Paul King, Kristian Kwiencinski, Jimmy Bernard, Keith Kelty, Geoffrey O’Connell. From the Bahamas
- 3rd Place-Stuart Simpson 46-ponds caught on Boo-Lo Team - Herbie Paul International Festival, Kenya
- 2nd Place – Carlos Roberto Cardoso 50.10-pounds caught on JessicaK. Team- 2001 OWC Champs from Brazil.
- 1st Place- Eliseo Soares Neto 56.40-pounds caught on Boo-Lo. Team Torneo Recon Open.
- 3rd Place- David Bergeron 41.20-pounds caught on Fandago. Team Washington Tuna Classic.
- 2nd Place – Pedro Argui 47.9 – pounds caught on Dream II. Team Bertram-Marina San Miguel Canary Islands.
- 1st Place Andrej Brodnin 65.20 wahoo caught on Blue Pearl II. Team - International Big Game Croatia.
- 3rd Place Crew – Sea Hawk from Quepos. 4827-points from 24 sails and 27-pound dorado. Capt. Franklin Arrieta Jimenez, Mate Dempsey Avila Perez.
- 2nd Place Crew Sweet Dreams from Los Suenos 4835-points from 24 sails and 35-pound dorado. Capt. Rudy Soto, Mate Esteban Gallo Gonzalez
- 1st Place Crew – Epic from Los Suenos. 5700-points from 1-blue and 26-sails. Capt. Mike Alligood, Mate Randal Garcia Canales
- 6th place: Marcelo Rodriguez 1600-points from 8 sails. Team-Torneo De Marlin Azul Rio De Janeiro Brazil
- 5th place: Aljosa Hribar 1800-points from 9 sails. Team Offshore Challenge Croatia.
- 4th place: Samuel Worden 1835-points from 9 sails and 35.6-pound dorado. Team 2011 OWC Champs from USA.
- 3rd place: Peter Patrick Diezmann 2,000 points from 10 sailfish. Team GFA of Papua New Ginny National Titles
- 2nd place: Juan Carlos Gonzales Olmos 2200-points from 11 sails. Team Los Cabos Billfish Tournament Mexico
- 1st place: Craig White 2900-points from 1-blue and 12 sail. Team Shimano West Australia Open.