Rising Australian star Molly Picklum has joined compatriot Jack Robinson at No.1 on the world rankings after breaking through for her maiden World Surf League title at Sunset Beach in Hawaii.
The 20-year-old from Shelly Beach on the NSW Central Coast powered past two-time world champ Tyler Wright in the semis to make her first final where she took down American Caroline Marks to secure the Hurley Pro.
Picklum took charge from the start of the 35-minute final in big surf in Oahu but lost the lead after Marks scored a 7.50 on her first wave to seize the lead.
But after stealing back ascendancy with a series of small scoring waves, Picklum rode out the final minutes with few waves caught between the pair to seize her win.
Victory propelled Picklum to equal world No.1 with superstar Carissa Moore, putting Australians on top of both the women’s and men’s rankings after the opening two events of the season.
Picklum, in just her second season on the championship tour, said the bigger breaks at Sunset Beach felt “like home” and played into her hands throughout the event.
“I’m fortunate at home we get waves like this. I’m from Shelly Beach and we have big, open ocean water and it kind of feels like home out there,” Picklum said.
“I feel like the rawness and challenging part of Sunset I enjoy, and while others are struggling I can give it a good crack.”
Robinson fell short of repeating his winning effort at the Banzai Pipeline to start the season, bowing out in the semi-finals to American Griffin Colapinto.