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Newport Beach

Volume 5, Issue 77  |  September 25, 2020

Third annual War Heroes on Water sportfishing tournament scheduled for October 1-4

The third annual War Heroes on the Water (WHOW) weekend sportfishing tournament takes place October 1-4 from Newport Harbor. WHOW is an Orange County-based organization that sponsors an annual weekend-long sportfishing event that takes veterans out on the ocean. It was founded with an inaugural tournament in 2018 and is led by loanDepot CEO Anthony Hsieh with the participation of a dozen Newport Beach-based fishing boat owners and the generous support of local businesses and individual donors.

Dubbed the WHOW 2020 Reunion Tournament, and with the pandemic constraining many veteran support services and activities, WHOW felt it more important than ever to gather previous WHOW vets for a reunion on the water. With an abundance of safety precautions, this special event is for WHOW alumni, so that veterans involved in past years’ tournaments can reconnect and feel the love and support of the community.

Third Annual War Heroes Marines

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Photos courtesy of War Heroes on the Water

Marine Corps veterans proudly share their USMC flag

“These unprecedented times have created unique challenges for our veteran community, who are at particular risk when isolated and removed from their regular routines,” Hsieh said. “We have made it a priority to safely and responsibly continue on with WHOW’s mission in 2020, so that we can continue providing healing and therapeutic services for veterans during this very challenging time. WHOW changes and saves lives through the healing properties of being at sea, and through the lifelong bonds that are formed on the water.”

The reunion tournament will host 30 combat-wounded veterans who will board 12 of the top sportfishing vessels in Southern California and launch the tournament by leading the WHOW kickoff boat parade at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct 1.

The parade will begin in the Newport Harbor Turning Basin, and proceed west along Lido Isle, turning at the Lido Isle Bridge before turning east and following the Balboa Peninsula shoreline. At the end of the peninsula, the parade will turn north toward Balboa Island and then continue westbound along Balboa Island and Linda Island, and then circle back along the north shore of Lido Island. A map of the parade route can be found at

Following the parade, the 2020 tournament will begin, with the WHOW veterans heading out to sea with their teams to begin two days of highly competitive sportfishing. It will conclude with closing ceremonies and a precision formation flyover on Saturday, Oct. 3, in Avalon and with an awards ceremony in Newport Beach on Sunday, Oct. 4. 

Third Annual War Heroes veteran caught

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This veteran caught the “big” one

“The fact that Anthony (Hsieh), the WHOW team and fleet is making a 2020 WHOW tournament happen, despite the current environmental challenges, speaks volumes,” said Josh Miles, program director for Freedom Alliance, War Heroes on Water’s charitable partner. “No one else does anything like WHOW does, in this way, in this magnitude. There’s truly nothing else like it.”

Since its inception in 2018, WHOW has raised nearly $1 million to support therapeutic programs for thousands of combat-wounded veterans across the nation, and next year’s tournament will be even larger in scale. Hsieh plans to grow WHOW in 2021, hosting 100 veterans and aiming to raise $1 million. This planned expansion will ultimately make WHOW one of the largest on-water combat-wounded veteran therapeutic programs of its kind.

“It’s imperative that after all that our veterans have done for us, and given to us, that we do whatever we can to support and help them,” Hsieh said. “We need to show veterans that we have their backs.”

Third Annual War Heroes on the Water

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War Heroes on the Water has raised nearly $1 million to support programs for thousands of combat-wounded veterans

For those interested in participating in the 2020 WHOW boat parade, contact Rod Halperin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To learn more about the War Heroes on Water sportfishing tournaments, or to make a donation, visit To learn more about WHOW’s philanthropic partner, Freedom Alliance, visit

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