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Now in its 24th year of continual operation, the Offshore World Championship represents sport fishing’s most prestigious global competition—a championship of champions, where each participating team must earn the right to receive an invitation by first winning a qualifying tournament. It features a fair and level playing field, with each team rotating among some of the sport’s top charter boats, and it’s set amid one of the world’s best fisheries for marlin and sailfish on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. A truly global field of anglers representing scores of nations. A shot at winning the ultra-prestigious title of Offshore World Champion, as well as the gold championship rings, trophies and prizes associated with a high-profile win.
A lush and luxurious tropical setting back ashore. Marlin’s highly professional and experienced event production team. Those are just a few of many reasons that you don’t want to miss an opportunity to compete in the 2024 Offshore World Championship, slated for April 14 to 19 in Quepos, Costa Rica.
A truly international event, the Offshore World Championship hosted 29 teams and 138 anglers from 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 in 2023. Collectively, these teams and their guests traveled a total of more than 750,000 miles to attend this international championship—the equivalent of circling the globe more than 32 times.
They enjoyed not only Costa Rica’s well-known hospitality, but some incredible fishing as well. Amid flat-calm seas, the participants released an amazing total of 267 sailfish and 46 blue marlin for an average of 10.79 billfish per team over the course of the tournament.
Emerging victorious was the highly experienced team of Karen and Roger Comstock, Rocky and Judy Franich, and Paul Steigerwald. Representing Mexico’s International Roosterfish Tournament, the team released a total of four blue marlin and 14 sailfish over four days of competition, good for a total of 4,800 points and the title of 2023 Offshore World Champions.
“We fish and we race, and that’s about it,” Karen Comstock said during the awards presentation. “In racing, you always take it one round at a time. You can’t even think about that final match until you make it through the qualifiers, and that’s what we did here. Every day we just concentrated on doing our best, and it worked out for us.”
During the awards, the team, understandably ecstatic, collected their trophies and custom gold champions’ rings as the reality of the occasion finally began to sink in. They will also receive lifetime invitations to defend their title in future Offshore World Championship tournaments.
The OWC’s top angler in 2023, David Fingland, offered a good representation of the international flavor of the tournament. A Bahamian by birth, Fingland was fishing in Costa Rica with the Bermuda team that was representing the 2003 Offshore World Champions. Fingland released two blue marlin and six sailfish to hoist the event’s prestigious Top Angler trophy during the awards presentation.
In the past, tournament winners have hailed from Kenya, Bermuda and the United States.
For those who have never participated in the Offshore World Championship, but hold a highly coveted invitation from one of the 75-plus qualifying events, now is your chance to fish against some of the best anglers on Earth. Each has qualified for the right to attend, and each has the ability to emerge as a champion at the end of the week.
The capital of Costa Rica—San Jose—is easily accessible by air or ground from virtually any international destination; the tournament location is in the central Pacific community of Quepos. Once a quaint fishing village, it’s since become a bustling seaside community anchored by Marina Pez Vela, one of the top international marina facilities in the world and home of the Offshore World Championship.
Called the epitome of responsible luxury, the Parador Resort and Spa has been the host resort of the tournament for many years. It’s located on the Punta Quepos promontory and is surrounded by 12 acres of wildlife-rich tropical rainforest, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and neighboring Manuel Antonio National Park. There is a variety of other lodging options in Quepos, but it’s hard to beat the friendly atmosphere of the Parador for participating anglers, their families and guests.
The experienced tournament staff, led by Jennifer Dudas, will assist anglers at every turn. Participating teams draw for boats and rotate among the finest charter operations in Costa Rica each day. This gives everyone a chance to fish with a different crew, and since private boats are not allowed, it provides a level playing field for all participating teams. This is an all-release tournament for billfish using video verification, again to provide a completely fair event for all.
Perhaps the most enjoyable evening in sport fishing is the awards presentation at the conclusion of the event. Following a buffet dinner for the participants, the top five anglers, the largest-gamefish winners and the top five teams are presented with beautiful trophies and armloads of prizes from the event sponsors. Capping off the event is the presentation of handmade signature gold champions’ rings to the first-place team, officially naming them Offshore World Champions. As fireworks light up the night sky, it’s one celebration that’s not to be missed.