Joe Surf: Join interfaith wave blessing

The Rev. Christian Mondor, left, and Father Matt Munoz, carry Mondor's longboard to the water before last year's Blessing of the Waves.
(DON LEACH, HB Independent)

They’re holding the fourth annual Blessing of the Waves on Sunday at the Huntington Beach Pier, an event presented by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange but open to people of all faiths.

In other words, everyone’s invited.

The day’s events get started at 9 a.m. and will include an opening prayer service, a pledge to protect our oceans and beaches, the blessing of the waves and those in attendance, acknowledgment of marine safety representatives, and will close with surfing priests and other religious leaders.

Ukulele players, conch shell blowers and a Tongan choir will perform traditional ocean songs, giving thanks to God for our ocean environment.

The goal of the event is to bring together ocean-minded people, regardless of their religion or faith beliefs, to show spiritual appreciation for the ocean and all that it gives the planet and the people who live on it.

The event will be headed by Father Christian Mondor, vicar emeritus at Sts. Simon and Jude in Huntington Beach.

“Our coastline and its diverse ecosystem are under constant strain and increased environmental pressures,” Mondor said in a prepared statement. “This event seeks to remind our community that protecting the environment is central to believers in a loving creator. I am excited to join with members of our diverse faith community here in Huntington Beach to bless waves, those who ride on them, and the lifeguards who protect ocean goers.”

The event started in 2008 with about 400 visitors, and grew to about 2,000 last year. It’s a great way to take a breath and appreciate what we have and what we need to do to keep it a viable part of our lives. Conditions permitting, there also will be a paddle out.

“In Orange County our beaches are more than simple geography; they are a cultural and spiritual center of our community,” said Bishop of Orange Tod D. Brown. “It is important that we recognize this common element in all our lives, regardless of faith tradition. Pope Benedict XVI and other spiritual leaders have called on all people to commit to the protection of the gifts of nature and preserve them for future generations.”


Stand Up World Tour stopping at H.B. Pier

Both before and after the waves are blessed, the Stand Up World Tour makes a stop on the south side of the Huntington Pier. The tour’s Huntington Beach Pro, which began Wednesday and runs through Tuesday, was established in 2009 and is growing along with the popularity of standup paddleboarding.

The Huntington Beach stop is the fourth of six, and the only one on the mainland of the U.S. The other stops include Brazil, Tahiti, France and two in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s Kai Lenny is the points leader on a tour dominated by Hawaiians.


Quiksilver champs rips in Newport

The Quiksilver Newport Beach Surf Championships were held over the weekend at 54th Street, and despite some small waves there were 133 competitors in seven divisions ripping.

Winners in their respective divisions included Bobby Okvist (open men), Mackie Albertson (open women), Tyler Gunter (elementary and middle school), Blake Davis (high school), Bryan Doonan (masters) and Nicolai Glazer (legends).

JOE HAAKENSON is an Orange County-based sports writer and editor. He may be reached at