Pepperdine University's 'Church and Surf' offers students faith and fitness

MALIBU (KABC) -- Pepperdine University assistant professor Rob Shearer offers students faith and fitness at a weekly convocation on the shores of Zuma Beach.

"If you want to talk about God, if you want to feel his presence, I'd be hard-pressed to find a place in the area where it's easier," Shearer said. "It just feels more natural."

Each week, dozens of students meet up at Zuma Beach in Malibu around 7:30 a.m. to combine faith and fitness. The weekly meet-up group is fondly known as "Church and Surf."

"We start out with a worship service, just hang out, sing some songs on the beach," said Russell Mott, a recent Pepperdine University graduate.

Senior Whitney Gillian is a regular at "Church and Surf."

"I love the community. We all come each week and we worship the lord together," Gillian said.

This surf convocation started three years ago with eight students and a professor who got together for the love of surfing. They met weekly for surfing and discussion and word got out. A year later, it's 40 plus and growing.

"It's all about small community and making you feel part of something at Pepperdine," Mott said.

Convocation is actually a requirement for undergraduates at Pepperdine University. Students need 14 sessions a semester, but the beauty is they actually get to pick when and where they meet. Zuma Beach is only one great place.

Campus recreation brings a truck full of kayaks and stand-up paddle boards for students to enjoy all kinds of water sports, but some just hang out in the sand, enjoying community. The sand and spirituality sessions bring a unique way to share college life.

"There's an interaction that you have with the Divine out in the water on a surfboard that I've yet to find anywhere else," Shearer said.

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