The Growth of the Hobie Fishing World Championship
When asked about the initial idea for the Hobie Fishing World Championships Steve Fields, Managing Director of Hobie Cat Australasia, deliberated, “Hobie Cat has been hosting Hobie sailing world championships since the first Hobie 16 titles held in Hawaii in 1976. They are fantastically competitive and ruthless events on the water but they are great social occasions as well”.
“People from all over the world with similar interests not only compete but share expertise, knowledge and skills. In the end, there is one World Champion, but everyone goes home feeling better about themselves, with new friends, new skills and having had a cultural experience in a part of the world they, otherwise, may never have visited.”
“Hobie Cat has grown and diversified into new areas since those early days. Our venture into kayaks has built a huge, worldwide Hobie kayak fishing fraternity. I wanted to bring these people together somehow and came up with the Hobie Fishing World Championship. I put the concept to Daiwa and they loved the idea so much they jumped straight aboard, as the major sponsor of the first such event ever to be held.”
The concept carried over other ideas from the sailing class championships where all sailors are placed on an “even keel” by sailing in new boats built and supplied specifically for the event.
An event site in northern NSW was chosen and like the sailing concept the event was designed on, all anglers were supplied with exactly the same boat a Hobie Mirage® Pro Angler, all rigged out in the factory with quality accessories that were straight out of the packet and transported and maintained at the event site by Hobie Cat Australasia factory staff.
With the difficulty and expense of freighting a boat to an international venue taken care of by the event organiser and the experience in event organisation of Hobie Cat through over 35 years of sailing world championships, the world championship in kayak fishing was set to flourish.
In 2011 the 1st Daiwa Hobie Kayak Fishing World Championships was held in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia and was an outstanding success with Australian Scott Baker from Victoria taking out the title.
World Championships followed in Texas, USA in 2012 with Marty Mood from Florida crowned world champion. The championship returned to Australia in 2013, this time in the state of Victoria 2013 with Australian Richard Somerton from Victoria the new world champion. In 2014 the world’s best kayak anglers headed to Europe for the first time, to Vinkeveen Plassen, just outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Steve Lessard from Louisiana, USA became the 4th world champion .
All four were absolutely brilliant tournaments, with ferocious competition, yet each overflowed with unrivalled camaraderie.
Hobie Fishing Worlds 5, presented by Rhino-Rack in China in 2015, is set to be exceptional tournament with the world’s elite of kayak angling destined to battle it out on Shang Lake, Changshu. The outstandingly beautiful, ancient setting where legendary Chinese hero Jiang Shang cast his place in Chinese history, is the arena where in November 2015 a “New Legend of Shang Lake” will rise from the waters to be crowned “Champion of the World”.