Aussies Picklum and Robinson clinch Sunset surf titles

Melissa Woods |

Molly Picklum has locked in a semi-final spot at the World Surf League event in Hawaii.
Molly Picklum has locked in a semi-final spot at the World Surf League event in Hawaii.

Molly Picklum’s love affair with Hawaii has continued, defending her title at Sunset Beach and clinching the yellow jersey as the World Surf League rankings leader.

And it was a double celebration for the Australian brigade in Oahu with fellow Paris Olympian Jack Robinson dominating the men’s final against Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi.

The West Australian was cruelly denied a perfect 10 after a staggering two-barrel ride, with two judges agreeing but the score was averaged down to a 9.87. 

Jack Robinson
Jack Robinson is all smiles after winning his first title at Sunset and moving to world No.2.

Picklum held out local star Bettylou Sakura Johnson to collect back-to-back Sunset crowns and go to world No.1 after also making the final in the nearby Pipe Pro last week.

There Picklum was pipped by American Caitlin Simmers, but she wouldn’t be denied against 18-year-old Johnson.

Like their epic semi-final at Pipe, when Picklum nailed a perfect 10, it came down to the final minutes with the Hawaiian only needing a score of 4.66 to overtake the NSW surfer but she was unable to find another wave.

Pickum’s tally was 11.83 to Johnson’s 8.67.

Representing the new generation of females in the sport, the two were the standouts of the competition with Picklum earning a 9.67 in her semi-final win over Brisa Hennessy – one judge scoring her a 10 for her breath-taking one-turn wave on a steep face.

Picklum said during the final she was thinking of fellow Australian Tyler Wright, who went back-to-back at the Bells Beach event in 2022 and 2023.

“I was thinking of Tyler when she backed up Bells, and I didn’t think that stuff’s possible,” said the 21-year-old from the NSW Central Coast.

“You can’t predict it – Sunset’s crazy – but this goes right up there for me.”

In the men’s decider West Australian Robinson, who made the semi-finals at Sunset last year, was unstoppable.

He opened with a 8.17 before his jaw-dropping 9.87 wave and although Igarashi still managed an impressive total of 15.16, he was short of Robinson’s 18.04.

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It was 26-year-old’s sixth career Championship Tour title and sends him to second in the world rankings with Hawaiian John John Florence wearing the yellow jersey at the third stop in Portugal.

“It’s been a crazy last few months, had a baby and everything before coming here and it’s all new and I’m just adapting and living this moment,” said Robinson, who bowed out in the third round at Pipe.

“I know I didn’t start so good at Pipe but I was just trying to enjoy it, it’s really special.”