Rip Curl Blog
Molly Picklum Wins The 2022 Ballito Pro.
Molly Picklum jumps to No.2 on the rankings after winning a nail-bitting close final in stop 3 of the WSL Challenger Series.
Molly Picklum and Rio Waida have won the Ballito Pro, claiming victory in the Finals against Gatien Delahaye and Macy Callaghan, held in fun three-to-four foot surf at Bathers Beach.
The third stop of the 2022 Challenger Series navigated a challenging forecast but nonetheless provided epic action from some of the world's best surfers. The day started with the women's Quarters and ran alternate divisions all the way up to the Finals.
In an all-Australian women's Final, former CT surfer Macy Callaghan took on tour rookie Molly Picklum. Callaghan posted the first real score of the Final with a single, powerful backhand hit for a 5.00, and Picklum replied in very similar fashion for a 4.67 to stay in striking distance of the lead. The more experienced of the two, Callaghan kept building house with a similar short left once again with a 5.67. Picklum switched strategies and went to the rights that saw the men score big earlier and found a 5.83, still in second position but now with the highest score of the heat.
That advantage didn't last long as Callaghan found a better wall to exploit on her backhand again for a 6.50 and a slightly larger lead into the final few minutes of the heat. With four minutes on the clock, Picklum forced her opponent to show intent on going on a closeout left, switching priority and opening a door wide open for the rookie's final chance at turning the heat. She did get an opportunity with two quick turns on a left and posted a 6.57 to claim the win in the dying seconds of the Final.
"It feels so good!" Picklum said. "I feel like in this event I really tried to just enjoy the process. Back in Manly I struggled to enjoy it and came here feeling super happy and let my surfing do the talking. Hats off to Macy, she put it to me the whole heat and I really couldn't find an opportunity. We're both from the same town so it really is a special way to win."
A 3-time winner on the QS, the young surfer who failed to make the mid-year cut on her rookie year on the CT, came to the Challenger Series with huge motivation to reclaim her spot for next season. With a runner-up on the Gold Coast, a 17th in Sydney and now the win in Ballito, Picklum moved from 4th into 2nd position with five events left on the schedule.
"Winning obviously is really good for qualification for 2023, but it's just so good to get to the top and I try and go into every contest to surf every heat and to come out on top in the last one is really good."