Pope Francis surfboard

Pope Francis, aka #DopePope, signing a surfboard. Photo: Courtesy of AP/Vatican Radio

I grew up Catholic, going to catechism classes one night a week and making my First Communion and Confirmation. After that, my parents told me it was my choice if I wanted to keep going to church or not. I chose not to and consider myself something more along the lines of an agnostic — I’m a man of reason and of the understanding that this Earth is the one thing we’re guaranteed so let’s enjoy it while we got it.

But Pope Francis has got me intrigued. Since becoming elected to the papacy in 2013, Pope Francis has completely earned his pop culture moniker of “Cool Pope”: he’s shown relentless support to women’s rights around the world, has denounced Donald Drumpf, seems to kind of secretly support gay rights, recognizes that climate change is a real issue that must be dealt with, has an awesome Popemobile, has admitted that evolution and the Big Bang Theory happened, has thrown away the frivolous formalities that have previously stifled the Vatican, and so much more.

Just this past weekend he may have trounced all of that by receiving his very first surfboard. In doing so, we are hereby graduating him from “Cool Pope” and forever calling him #DopePope.


Scroll to 1:08:17 in the video to see the pope receiving the surfboard.

It happened at the World Congress of Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes on Sunday, May 29 at the Vatican Synod Hall. The Scholas Occurrentes is an educational foundation that the pontiff organized and includes the non-profit group Surf Resource Network.

Founded by American’s Sean Brody and Daniel Hopkins, they have used surfing as a conduit for humanitarian efforts in Liberia. They brought two surfboards for the day: one for Pope Francis himself and another that they were having people sign on behalf of the surfers around the world that represents the ability of surfing to break down barriers around the globe. According to Surfer Today, Hopkins told Pope Francis, “Surfing is one of the most amazing bridges for coastal communities around the world.”

Pope Francis receives surfboard

Let the Summer of Dope Pope begin. Photo: Courtesy CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano handout

Brody added, “In Liberia, we’ve been able to keep the kids out of trouble, keeping them in school, and used the sport of surfing as one big family. There are two types of people in the world: people who surf, and people who want to surf. And we would like to invite everyone to join us, to join our tribe and family.”

Honestly, I won’t be surprised if we see images of Pope Francis up on his Instagram account this summer of him ripping on that board — Dope Pope has been one of the most surprising changes to the way the Catholic Church interacts with the rest of the world. The world could use some more open-mindedness like him.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article said the pope was elected in 2007, not 2013. GrindTV regrets the error.

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