Surfing pastors Blaine “Sumo” Sato and the Rev. Christian Mondor, both of whom died this year, were immortalized Wednesday morning with a bronze plaque on the Huntington Beach Pier.
City officials and other community members gathered at lifeguard Tower Zero for the dedication ceremony presented by the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, which Mondor helped found.
Mondor, who often was seen wearing Franciscan robes or carrying a surfboard — thus his nickname, the “surfing padre” — was known for his work at Sts. Simon & Jude Catholic Church and for conducting Huntington Beach’s annual Blessing of the Waves. He died of pneumonia April 25, two days before his 93rd birthday.
Sato, a Hawaiian surfer known for his long white beard, was pastor of H2O Community Church, operating out of the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach. He also was the Huntington Beach Marine Safety Department’s official pastor.