Molly Picklum shines as women’s Pipe Pro action begins

Murray Wenzel |

Molly Picklum has been the outstanding surfer on day one of the women’s comp at Hawaii’s Pipe Pro.
Molly Picklum has been the outstanding surfer on day one of the women’s comp at Hawaii’s Pipe Pro.

Molly Picklum only needed one heat to make her World Surf League statement, the Australian scoring the two best waves of the day as the women’s season-opening Pipe Pro finally got the green light in Hawaii.

Forced to wait more than a week to hit the water, the women’s first round was able to be completed on Thursday (AEDT) before competition was again placed on hold at Banzai Pipeline.

Picklum (15.83) made the most of it, dominating her heat with 7.33 and 8.50-point waves to beat American Alyssa Spencer (9.17) and relegate Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb (6.83) to the elimination round.

Fifth in last year’s Championship Tour (CT), the 21-year-old Picklum was already cruising in her heat when she found a wicked backdoor barrel with a minute left on the clock.

No other surfer scored higher than seven for a wave while only three – compatriot Tyler Wright (11.67), Costa Rica’s Brisa Hennessy (10.66) and 18-year-old American Sawyer Lindblad (10.77) – broke double figures.

Wright also advanced to the third round while Fitzgibbons (6.66) pipped Carissa Moore (5.23) to send the local favourite into an elimination heat that includes Australia Isabella Nichols.

Like Nichols, Victoria’s India Robinson was unable to find a score in the tricky conditions in a tepid return after re-qualifying for the CT last year.

Ethan Ewing is the sole Australian male left in the field after he beat 11-times world champion Kelly Slater and progressed to a career-best quarter-final on Wednesday.

AAP