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Surfers, religions come together for 'Blessing of the Waves'

Surfers come together at last year's "Blessing of the Waves" in Huntington Beach, CA.
Photo Courtesy of Diocese of Orange
Surfers hold hands at last year's "Blessing of the Waves" in Huntington Beach, CA.

The fifth annual Blessing of the Waves is Sunday in Huntington Beach.

The interfaith event is hosted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and brings together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Unitarians and Sikhs to bless the ocean and remind people to protect it.

Part of the goal is to use Huntington Beach's surf, sand and sun to attract young people to a spiritual event. But the event isn't limited to the younger set.

The organizer is 87 years old. He’s Father Christian Mondor, who’s known as “The Surfing Priest.”

“I started late in life with the long board, but I’ve been body surfing since I was in the 5th grade,” said Mondor.

Mondor sees a strong connection between religion and surfing.

“In the religious symbolism, water is one of the great images of life and energy,” said Fr. Mondor. “It’s a symbol of God’s presence.”

Huntington Beach calls itself “Surf City USA.” Fr. Mondor got none other than Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean, the duo that sang the 1963 pop hit "Surf City," to record an invitation for this weekend’s event.

In his audio invitation, Torrence calls on surfers and beachgoers to visit "Surf City" on Sunday "as we again give thanks for our mother ocean.”

Blessing of the Waves gets underway at 9:00 AM on the Huntington Beach Pier.