Alex Gonzalez, a retired pro baseball player whose teams included the Toronto Blue Jays, bought a 35-foot Tournament four months ago, sold on its fishing capabilities and seaworthiness.
“Once I rode in one, it sold me,” said Gonzalez, who lives in Miami. His Contender is comfortable in calm as well as rough seas — “it lands softly.”
Gonzalez, who fishes in tournaments, took his Contender — named Game Face — to the Bahamas not long after buying it for what’s now his best fishing memory. His 13-year-old son, Tyler, landed a 50-pound yellowfin on his own, while Gonzalez pulled in a 70-pounder. “We had the whole marina coming out of Bimini to see the fish we had.”
A plus for his Contender — it had the capacity to store the big fish, Gonzalez said. Other features he praises are the center console, the space, and the added seating — with back rests. The boat is diver friendly, important for both his son and 11-year-old daughter Analise, who dive. It’s easy to get in and out of the water, he said. Gonzalez’s wife, Samantha, isn’t a hard-core fisherman or diver. But “she loves the boat,” he said.
What would he tell someone considering buying a Contender? “They can definitely trust the product they’re getting.”
The most incredible feat for Contender thus far, says Stewart “is to be building boats as long as we have and to build the reputation in the industry we have — to have the base of people that appreciate what we do. We have a strong reputation, following and fans.”
Stewart’s favorite Contender Boat story tells how the boats’ performance continues to build fan loyalty: A customer who boats off the New York coast — where offshore fishing grounds are 90 miles out — recalls taking a run on a foul-weather day.
As the boater headed farther out, he encountered many others making their way back. Finally, at his fishing destination, he found only Contender boats. He announced over his radio, “It must be Contender weather, boys.”