Molly Picklum (AUS) won the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach, the second stop on the World Surf League (WSL) 2023 Championship Tour (CT), in six-to-eight foot waves at Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu.
Despite being early in the season, the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach results are critical to the CT rankings, with the Mid-season Cut looming following Stop No. 5 at Margaret River, as well as provisional Olympic qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Picklum and Carissa Moore (HAW) are now tied for the top position on the world rankings.
Molly Picklum Wins Hurley Pro Sunset Beach, Goes to No. 1 on the Rankings
Australia’s Molly Picklum claimed her first CT win, the best result of her career so far, today at the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach. The 20-year-old was chaired up the beach by two-time World Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) and Brisa Hennessy (CRC), both competitors who she eliminated en route to the Final. With her maiden CT victory, and in only her second year on the elite CT, Picklum is now tied for the No. 1 position on the world rankings with none other than five-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW). Picklum will now wear the yellow Leader jersey at Stop No. 3 on the CT.
“It is just a jersey color, but I’m stoked to be on the top because that’s where I want to be, it’s where I feel I believe I can be, and it’s just a jersey color for now because the endgame is Trestles,” said Picklum. “I’m so stoked to take it out and this event is so challenging. I think it’s just never losing your confidence and really believing in yourself the whole way, no matter what it looks like. The level of women’s surfing is insane. You can be on the Challenger Series one year then win a CT event, so I’m definitely proud of myself for just chipping away even though there are so many setbacks. Moments like these make it all worth it.”
Marks’ successful run to the Finals puts her back in both the World Title race and the hunt for Olympic qualification.
“It’s been such a fun week, and I’ve had such an amazing support crew and want to thank everyone,” said Marks. “My best friend came and surprised me, my brother’s here, my other friends are here, and it’s just been so fun. This time last year was way different than where I am this year, so I’m really grateful and so happy.”
8X World Champion Gilmore and 5X Champion Moore Fall in Quarterfinals
Wright started her road to the Semifinals with a nail-biting showdown against fellow Australian Stephanie Gilmore. With five minutes left, Gilmore briefly took the lead, putting the pressure on Wright. An exciting last exchange left the two World Champions awaiting scores after the buzzer, with Wright defeating Gilmore with an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10) to Gilmore’s 6.50. Despite the early loss in the day, Gilmore’s 5th place finish moves her up four places on the rankings to World No. 11.
In the first upset of the day, CT newcomer Gabriela Bryan (HAW) dominated current No. 1 and five-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW). Bryan started the heat with a near-excellent 7.00 (out of a possible 10). She then raised the requirement on Moore by hammering several turns and scoring an excellent 8.00. Moore was unable to answer back but will keep her top spot on the rankings.
Women’s Championship Tour Rankings following Hurley Pro Sunset Beach:
1 – Carissa Moore (HAW), 14,745 points
2 – Molly Picklum (AUS), 14,745 points
3 – Tyler Wright (AUS), 13,885
4 – Gabriela Bryan (HAW), 10,8830
Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Women’s Semifiinal Results:
HEAT 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) 12.34 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 1.74
HEAT 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 13.10 DEF. Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 8.83
Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) 8.67 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 8.40
HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.17 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.17
HEAT 3: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 15.00 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 7.73
HEAT 4: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.50 DEF. Caitlin Simmers (USA) 12.23
Next Stop: MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal
The next stop on the 2023 WSL Championship Tour will be the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal. The competition’s waiting period will open on Wednesday, March 8, and close on Thursday, March 16, 2023. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners. For fans watching in Brazil, coverage of the competition’s Quarterfinals and beyond will continue exclusively on WorldSurfLeague.com and SporTV.