The 2023 Costa Offshore World Championship presented by Continental was held Sunday, April 16, through Friday, April 21. A total of 29 teams comprised of 138 anglers converged in Quepos, Costa Rica, to battle it out for the prestigious Offshore World Champion title. Truly a global billfishing championship, all competing anglers—representing 19 countries—are required to hook their own fish under International Game Fish Association rules and have earned their spot in this invitational tournament by winning an official qualifying event. This year, teams released a total of 267 sailfish and 46 blue marlin for an average of 10.79 billfish per team.
The Costa Offshore World Championship presented by Continental is an exclusive invitation-only tournament. Angler teams earn their invitation to participate by winning one of over 75 official qualifying events around the world, then travel to Costa Rica to represent their local tournament and country. At OWC 2023, 19 countries were represented, including Australia, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Fiji, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Panama, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and the United States. Collectively, the 2023 OWC angler teams and guests traveled a total of more than 750,000 miles to attend this international championship—the equivalent to circling the globe more than 32 times!
The tournament began with anglers and guests arriving at the Parador Resort and Spa, a luxury resort surrounded by tropical canopies alive with local wildlife and internationally recognized as one of Costa Rica’s most prestigious resorts. Teams were gifted with Costa backpacks filled with swag from sponsors, Guy Harvey offshore performance shirts and Guy Harvey T-shirts. They had a Flor de Caña rum tasting before drawing to determine their boats for the coming week, followed by a poolside captains meeting conducted by Tournament Director Jennifer Dudas and a gourmet dinner.
Angler teams fished out of the official host marina of the OWC, Marina Pez Vela, Costa Rica’s largest full-service marina, aboard a different Costa Rica-flagged charter boat each day, including those by world-class builder Maverick Yachts Costa Rica. OWC anglers follow IGFA angling and tackle rules targeting marlin, sailfish, tuna and dorado and use video verification to earn billfish release points. Blue marlin are worth 500 points, sailfish are worth 200, and tuna and dorado (mahimahi) must be 25 pounds or more, with teams allowed to weigh up to two fish per species per day to earn additional team points per pound and awards.
Adding to the prestige of this event, the professional team from Sport Fishing Television—the award-winning fishing, travel and adventure series—was on hand throughout the week, shooting all the action on, above and below the sea, as well as back on land, for a four-part series that will air on Discovery Network, Outdoor America, and additional media distribution channels.
Congratulations to the International Roosterfish Tournament Team representing Mexico, including anglers Karen Comstock, Rodger Comstock, Judy Franich, Rocky Franich and Paul Steigerwald, as the 2023 Offshore World Champions. During four days of fishing, they released 14 sailfish and four blue marlin for a total of 4,800 points. In addition to Bodo Muche bronze trophies, the first-place team earned a grand-prize package including the championship gold rings by VanMark Jewelry Designers, Costa sunglasses, Garmin Quatix 7 watches, Guy Harvey limited-edition prints, Guy Harvey championship apparel, Yeti Ramblers, a Penn reel, Flor de Caña rum, Big-T lures, AFTCO fillet knives, and custom Coastal Carolina cutting boards.
As 2023 OWC champions, our first-place team will be invited back to compete in all future Costa Offshore World Championships. The second- and third-place teams will receive an invitation to fish in the 2024 Costa Offshore World Championship presented by Continental.
Second place was earned by the Marina Pez Vela Open team from Costa Rica, including anglers Kevin Gannon, Saso Apostolovski, Bost Jan Leben, Roman Ursic and Boris Piculjan. They released a total of 13 sailfish and four blue marlin, and weighed a 39-pound dorado to achieve a total of 4,639 points. The second-place team received gold championship pendants by VanMark Jewelry Designers, King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Guy Harvey limited-edition prints, Costa sunglasses, Yeti Ramblers, Garmin Quatix 7 watches, a Penn reel, Flor de Caña rum, Big-T lures and AFTCO fillet knives.
The Brazilian team from qualifying event Torneio de Peixes de Bico placed third overall with 4,262.2 points. Evandro Soares, Nilo Cottini Filho, Gustavo Santos and Walter Muller released two blue marlin and 16 sailfish. They also weighed a 36.02-pound dorado and a 26-pound dorado for an extra 62.2 points. The third-place team received silver championship pendants by VanMark Jewelry Designers, King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Guy Harvey limited-edition prints, Costa sunglasses, Yeti Ramblers, Garmin Quatix 7 watches, a Penn reel, Flor de Caña rum, Big-T lures and AFTCO fillet knives.
The Top Angler award for the 2023 Offshore World Championship was presented to David Fingland of the returning 2003 OWC Championship team from Bermuda, with a total of six sailfish and two blue marlin released for 2,200 points. The second-place angler was Yves LeCourt from Team Mauritius, with four blue marlin and two sailfish, and the third-place angler was James Thackeray fishing for the Fiji Classic team. The top angler received a Garmin Quatix 7 watch and a Release Marine custom OWC teak cigar box. First- through sixth-place anglers received King Sailfish Mounts trophies, Costa sunglasses, Yeti Ramblers, AFTCO Alijos fighting belts and release gloves, Flor de Caña rum, Guy Harvey limited-edition prints, Big-T lures and Coastal Carolina cutting boards.
The Costa Offshore World Championship presented by Continental is sponsored by many industry-leading companies, including title sponsor Costa Sunglasses, presenting sponsor Continental Tire, Marina Pez Vela, Yeti, Guy Harvey, Parador Resort and Spa, King Sailfish Mounts, Garmin, AFTCO, Flor de Caña, IGFA, Maverick Yachts Costa Rica, Bodo Muche Studio-Foundry, Pacifico Travel Services, Outdoor America, Seakeeper, Release Marine, Tropic Star Lodge, 2Costa Rica Real Estate, Corona, VanMark Jewelry Designers, Marlin, Salt Water Sportsman, Sport Fishing, Coastal Carolina Cutting Boards, Big-T Lures, Penn and IWS ScaleMaster.Congratulations to all our teams who participated in the 2023 Costa Offshore World Championship presented by Continental. Save the date for our 2024 event, which will take place Sunday, April 14, through Friday, April 19. For more information, visit offshoreworldchampionship.com. To find an Offshore World Championship Official Qualifying Event near you, please visit offshoreworldchampionship.com/qualifying-events.