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Seniors

Priest, 87, blesses and rides California surf ... and plays banjo, too

Christian Mondor, a Franciscan priest at Saints Simon & Jude Parish in Huntington Beach, Calif., carries his surfboard near the Huntington Beach pier. He learned to surf at age 70, and spearheads the annual Blessing of the Waves each October.
Christian Mondor, a Franciscan priest at Saints Simon & Jude Parish in Huntington Beach, Calif., carries his surfboard near the Huntington Beach pier. He learned to surf at age 70, and spearheads the annual Blessing of the Waves each October.
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The story goes that in 2011, a holy man saved the “Gathering of the Tribes” longboard contest at Trestles beach. The day was cloudy and breezy, the waves small. Then, an elderly man in a robe and sandals stepped onto the beach. “He blesses the waves, and the sun pops through the clouds,” says surfing legend Chuck Linnen, 76, of Huntington Beach, Calif. “And then the waves come up.” People looked at each other like: ...


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