Photos: Pepper Ailor
In coordination with Freedom Alliance and Freedom Fighter Outdoors, the inaugural War Heroes on Water (WHOW) Veteran's Sportfishing Tournament hosted 27 wounded Veterans, and gave the SoCal sportfishing community an opportunity to display immense gratitude and respect for those who have sacrificed so dearly for the United States of America. AFTCO supported the event and supplied each of the heroes with AFTCO gloves, hats, WHOW-monogrammed performance shirts, sun masks and Tactical fishing shorts.
This one-of-its-kind, world-class event was conceptualized by Team Bad Company Leader Anthony Hsieh and was designed to:
1. Show appreciation to our nation's greatest heroes – our servicemen and women.
2. Raise awareness of the challenges Veterans face after their tours are complete.
3. Raise funds for organizations dedicated to supporting Veterans.
The WHOW framework ensured the assembled Veterans would receive a hero's welcome and continued displays of appreciation and honor throughout the tournament weekend. The tournament festivities began on Thursday evening with a welcome celebration and charitable silent auction at Hsieh's private residence in Newport Beach, California. The WHOW Veterans were celebrated through the evening with hand-crafted, locally-sourced food and beverage presentations, live entertainment, boat displays and patriotic pageantry, all while overlooking the beautiful Newport Harbor.
The Veterans began their tournament adventure on Friday, deploying to the tournament fleet of nine custom elite luxury yachts, anchored off the coast of Avalon, Catalina Island.
Throughout the tournament, the WHOW Veterans had full access to world-class amenities, staff and sportfishing aboard their designated tournament yacht. Each evening the Veterans were invited aboard Hsieh's Bad Company 144, the largest sportfisherman in the world, and tournament home base, to be celebrated and honored by the WHOW yacht owners, crew and tournament staff.
The WHOW event concluded on Sunday evening with special awards and dramatic closing ceremony salutes to the honored WHOW Veterans. There were big bluefin tuna caught in the event, along with yellowtail, dorado, bass, rockfish and other assorted species. Most of the veterans had never caught a fish of any kind, and many described the WHOW event as one of the most special experiences of their lives!
AFTCO was proud to be a part of the WHOW event, and greatly appreciates Anthony Hsieh’s ongoing commitment to honoring America’s true heroes.