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. 

Molly Picklum Tony Heff/WSL

“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 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 and then win a CT event, so I’m proud of myself for just chipping away even though there are so many setbacks. Moments like these make it all worth it.”

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Marks’ runner-up finish moves her up from 9th to 5th on the rankings heading into Portugal. The 21-year-old defeated rookie Caitlin Simmers (USA) and sophomore Gabriela Bryan (HAW) in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals, respectively. This was the American’s first time competing at Sunset Beach after missing the first half of the 2022 season due to medical reasons. 

Caroline Marks Brent Bielmann/WSL

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."

Caroline Marks & Molly Picklum Tony Heff/WSL

The women’s Final showcased progressive surfing as two of the Tour’s younger competitors battled it out for the win. After falling on the first wave of the Final, Picklum quickly regained her composure and posted two mid-range scores by halfway through the heat.

But Marks answered back, unleashing her formidable backhand attack to earn a near-excellent 7.50 and put pressure back on Picklum. Under priority, Marks utilized an opportunity to capitalize and took over the lead, forcing Picklum to need a 5.58. 

In a flurry of action, Picklum earned a 5.50 and 5.40 to steal the lead from Marks at the 10-minute mark, and left Marks needing a 3.40 as time dwindled.