California Christian surfers the blessing of the waves

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United States - Surfing with God
For the passion of waves and Christ
Photos: Eugenie Baccot
With surfboards in hand, the Christian crowd wears Hawaiian-print shirts and sunglasses. Father Christian Mondor just turned 93. He is known in the community as the "surfer priest". He leads "the blessing of the waves", a ceremony that has become an annual gathering supported by the Diocese of Orange during which more than a thousand people gather.
This is not a particularly unusual scene in California where the Christian surfer movement, which began in Australia in the 1970s, is enjoying growing popularity.

"I'm sorry, Reverend, I could not make it to church, the waves were just too good".

Father Mondor saw the potential of sunny beaches for helping him bring his flock together. In California, religious masses are not unique to these beaches. There are a large number of surfing schools where Christian surfers first meet. Most of them are located between Los Angeles and the Mexican border. The Church of La Jolla organizes a gathering every Thursday evening where the faithful pray before taking that plunge into the waves.
California Christian surfers the blessing of the waves
International photojournalism