Pacific athletes are celebrating a female surfing championship that took place in Hawaii over the weekend, an event that has been generations in the making.

The annual Pipe Masters has been running for more than 50 years and is known for its huge waves that form large, tube-like tunnels that surfers can ride through.

Local wildcard Moana Jones Wong won the inaugural women’s title in Hawaii on Sunday, taking out Carissa Moore.

For Stephanie Mahuk, the president of the Vanuatu Surfing Association, it was exciting news that women were included.

“I think it’s incredible that women are able to compete at pipeline as a part of their WSL circuits,” she said.

“Seeing women charge that wave, for Pacific Island girls who look up to their superstar, watching them on the screen is great inspiration for them to continue pushing their limits and surfing.”

Sophie McDonald from the Aotearoa Women’s Surfing Association said it was a giant step for women to take part in the event.

“Seeing such incredible athletes getting as much screen time and air time as the male surfers, it feels like it feels like a shift and a change. And it’s really exciting.”

Mahuk, who is also the co-founder of Solwota Sista, a program that teaches young women and girls in Vanuatu to surf, said there were still other obstacles for women surfers to overcome.

“With leaders in the international Surfing Association and in the World Surf League paving the way…it’s very important that that representation is there and women can see themselves represented in the waves,” she said.