‘Surfing padre,’ known for blessing California waves, dies
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Rev. Christian Mondor, the “Surfing Padre” who wore a wetsuit under his clerical robe and presided over an annual Blessing of the Waves ceremony on a Southern California beach, has died just two days before his 93rd birthday.
Saints Simon and Jude Catholic Church says Mondor died Wednesday after a bout with pneumonia. He was an associate pastor for nearly three decades at the church.
Mondor learned to surf in 1990, when he was in his mid-60s, after joining the church just blocks from the shore in Huntington Beach, known as Surf City. Surfers would regularly ask for his blessing before they paddled out. Eventually Mondor started a yearly interfaith prayer ceremony on the sand with a rabbi and other religious leaders that drew thousands of people.