Picklum shines in Pro France

Molly Picklum earlier this year winning the Tweed Coast Pro, June 2021 Photo: WSL / Matt Dunbar


A fifth-place finish for Shelly Beach’s Molly Picklum in the Pro France was the best result so far from the Central Coast trio competing in this season’s Challenger Series.

Avoca Beach’s Wade Carmichael and Macy Callaghan made positive steps towards the event’s finals but were eliminated, Carmichael in the Round of 24 and Callaghan in the Round of 16.

The competition ran from October 16 to 23, with multiple pauses due to unfavourable conditions.

The event was won by Lennox Head’s Connor O’Leary and Costa Rican Brisa Hennessy.

Hennessy eliminated Callaghan from the running in their Round of 16 encounter, winning the heat by 15.43 to 14.27.

The highlight for Picklum was her underdog comeuppance in the Round of 16 contest against French woman, Johanne Defay, currently seeded fourth in the world.

Picklum eliminated Defay in convincing style on October 20 finishing ahead by 2.66 points with a two-wave score of 14.26.

Both surfers started slow until a 5.43 wave score and the lead was given to Defay which she held until the final 10 minutes.

Picklum then took off with two solid waves in a row: first a 6.83, followed by a 7.43.

This final wave attempt took Molly all the way to the shore where the wave finally crashed down, but not before a pump-action backhand turn to the top of the lip impressed commentators and judges.

“I really look up to Johanne, she’s an incredible surfer,” Picklum said.

“I think there were enough waves for us both to have opportunities and I’m really stoked to come out on top.

“With the tide quite high you had to be a little bit picky, I ended up in the sand and I was fully committed to win that heat.”

In the Men’s event, Wade Carmichael put in a strong performance up to his exit in the Round of 24, when Northern Beaches surfer, Jordan Lawler and Brazilian, Samuel Pupo, advanced instead.

Carmichael achieved his own personal best in the Series by winning his two opening heats: the Round of 94 and 48.

The powerfully built carver has yet to encounter the large surf conditions he thrives in; for in California, Portugal and France, the waves have been mostly underwhelming.

A 17th place finish and 2,000 qualifying points towards the top tier Championship Tour is the best result he has posted so far.

Macy Callaghan picked up another 3.500 points in her third – out of three – ninth place finish in this Series.

She is the highest ranked Central Coast surfer in the Series with one event left to go.

Five thousand points have been rewarded to Picklum for reaching up to the quarter finals where she was narrowly beaten by Victorian, India Robinson, who went on to challenge Hennessy unsuccessfully in the Grand Final.

Robinson started strong against Picklum with a front hand line involving a trio of snaps earning a score of 6.67.

Her following attempt with the same technique started confidently but ended with the nose of her board sinking within the wave for a score of 3.83.

Picklum remained patient throughout the opening 20 minutes, waiting on the right moment to strike.

When it came she took it with great prowess, scoring herself an 8.17 on her second attempt.

Taking on the same front hand line as her competitor, Molly excelled with two wide carves along the wave’s lip, landing her final air with expert balance.

This is Picklum’s highest scoring wave in the Series  and the highest scoring wave within the Quarter final heats.

The young prodigy was unable to seal the win with a second wave despite only requiring a 2.33 score in the final minute.

Her fourth and last attempt was given 1.90 by the judges, reflecting their dissatisfaction with surfing – or floating – atop the wave’s white water.

It was a lack of experience in the crucial moment that ultimately defeated the Shelly Beach representative, and yet her earlier showings in this Quarter final provide a clear insight into her massive overall potential.

All three surfers are determined to do better in the Series’ final event, the Haleiwa Challenger, in Hawaii from November 26 to December 7.

Media releases, October 20-4
World Surf League