- WSL / Cait Miers

It was only 100 years ago that women in America did not hold the basic, fundamental right to vote. That changed when the 19th Amendment was finally added to the United States Constitution, but the fight for equal rights and equal representation continues. And today, in honor of Women's Equality day in the U.S., we celebrate the trailblazers that have kept an eye on the horizon and pushed the sport of surfing ever forward.

Over the past few years the progression of women in the water has soared -- quite literally. Whether it's women flying above the lip, charging waves of consequence or representing their countries in the Olympics, more and more women continue to push the boundaries of surfing to new and exciting heights.

MAUI, UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 24: The Rising Tides WSL girls program taking place ahead of the 2019 Lululemon Maui Pro at Honolulu Bay on November 24, 2019 in Maui, United States. (Photo by Cait Miers/WSL via Getty Images) Maui 2019 Rising Tides a grassroots movement aimed at inspiring young competitors. - WSL / Cait Miers

At the pinnacle of the sport, the WSL's World Champions are, collectively, an inspiring group of women. From how heroically Tyler Wright has attacked the adversity she's faced, to the grace and style of seven-time champ Stephanie Gilmore, to watching my own sister embrace her own struggles and come out on top, the sport of surfing is lucky to be in the hands of such proud, worthy champions.

Women are taking risks like never before when it comes to the once male-dominated world of big-wave surfing. We have seen Keala Kennelly, Justine Dupont, Maya Gabeira and other female big-wave surfers charge the world's largest, heaviest, most dangerous waves at places like Nazare and Jaws. They are the ones setting the example for not only what's possible, but what's to come.

TUBE NOM Keala Kennelly McKenna Keala Kennelly deep in a blue Tahitian monster at Teahupo'o, a location that will be back on the Women's CT in 2021 - WSL / Tim McKenna

In 2021, Teahupo'o will return to the women's Tour schedule after 15 years, giving the women a chance to showcase their talents on the main stage. In 2024, the infamous Tahitian reef will host the Olympic Games.

Then there are all the younger girls waiting in the wings -- waiting to take flight on the global stage. The next generation of females surfers are already pushing the sport to new limits above the lip ... and they're just getting started. Rising stars like Sky Brown, Bella Kenworthy and Erin Brooks have been lighting up wave pools and their local beaches with their aerial surfing and progressive maneuvers. The future is brighter than ever. The amount of young girls in the water is a daily reminder of this.

For too long the surf industry has portrayed women as just bikinis on the beach. It's only recently that the paradigm has begun to change. The women that go to the beach are world-class athletes, impassioned activists, creative entrepreneurs and so much more. Today we celebrate women who are elevating the standard, empowering the movement and redefining what it means to be a woman in the water.

As we celebrate the powerful presence of women in surfing, let us all take a moment to acknowledge the changes it took to get here, as well as the progress women continue to fight for each day.

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