A new generation of female surfers are proving that they have the determination and the talent to match their male counterparts. Let's meet them.
One lady in particular has shown she can compete (and beat) male surfers. Maya Gabeira, who recently featured in ESPN's 'body issue', won her fifth Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Award in May to confirm that she's one of the finest big wave riders on the planet.
The 23-year-old Brazilian, who is pictuerd above at Seal Beach in California, won her first XXL Big Wave Award in 2007 when she was just 18. She's since won four more and shows no signs of giving up her place among the world's elite.
Maya explained her surfing philosphy in an interview with The Red Bulletin earlier in the year: “It’s a circus, but it’s in the circus you have to prove yourself,” she said cryptically.
She's just one of a handful of women who compete in this male-dominated discipline and she has borne the brunt of more than a few sexist comments. Indeed, after wiping out in spectacular fashion in Tahiti, world champion Kelly Slater warned her that she was in over her head.
Maya's fellow countrywoman Bruna Kajiya, pictured training in Fortaleza in Brazil, is also a world champion – but in freestyle kitesurfing. She's also a four-times national champion.
Expect Maya, who you can follow on Twitter, to be back in contention for a sixth XXL Big Wave Award in 2013… especially if she manages to stay in this kind of shape.
Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons is probably one of the most famous faces in surfing and another female athlete giving the men a run for their money. The 21-year-old is already a two-times runner-up in the ASP Women's World Championship and is giving the leader of the 2012 tour, Stephanie Gilmore, a real fight.
Germany's Susanne 'Susi' Mai is another top class kitesurfer currently making waves.
Sally Fitzgibbons enjoys a breather. She's so far won two events on the 2012 ASP Women's World Championship Tour and will go into the season's final event in Huntington Beach brimming with confidence.
And finally, Hawaii's Red Bull-backed star of the waves: Carissa Moore. She's just 20 years old and is already a world champion after pipping Sally Fitzgibbons to the post in 2011. It's safe to say that we'll all be hearing a lot more of this surfing ace in the years to come.
It's a woman's world, don't you know?