How Molly Picklum 9-Ironed Her Way From Rock-Bottom To #1 In The World - Stab Mag

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Photo by Tony Heff/WSL

How Molly Picklum 9-Ironed Her Way From Rock-Bottom To #1 In The World

“I’m super happy I got knocked off tour”

elsewhere // Feb 23, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Molly Picklum struggled on the 2022 Championship Tour. Maybe it’s because five events is a very brief amount of time to get your footing as a rookie (a reason cited by anti-cut petitioners.) Maybe she just got unlucky.

Whatever it was, the gal often dubbed “the future of Australian women’s surfing” couldn’t hack it with the big dogs, and ended her rookie year at Margaret River.

After pocketing a second place and a bucketful of points at the Snapper CS, the Toasted star admits to tumbling down the disillusioned rabbit hole of self-doubt. 

After the Manly CS, she could hardly do a cutty. “I wrote in my notes that her completion rate for the first three days was under 10%,” said her coach, Glen “Micro” Hall. “I was thinking ‘oh my God…I’ve never seen this before'”

The solution? Playing golf.

Did it work?

Ask her Vans Pipe Masters and Sunset CT trophies.

It worked. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)

Why did it work? Hard to say exactly.

Golf has been a pastime of many top surfers for decades — with Kelly Slater once suggesting that “the first years I really got into golf, in ’96 and ’97, were probably my best years in surfing.”

The two sports both require a significant degree of mental and physical liquidity — adaptiveness, if you will. By nature, both pastimes also happen to be built around intermittent rewards systems, often with long amounts of time spent groveling/practicing between noticeably rewarding moments.

Whatever it is, it worked for Pickles.

Is your putting face the same as your barrel face?

As I briefly delved into here, Molly Picklum is the WSL’s ideal example of why the mid-year cut might not be as bad as their comment section would lead you to believe. Other examples include Joao Chianca, Leonardo Fioravanti, and Bettylou Sakura Johnson — all MYC victims who are now taking names on the upper echelon of the CT.

If the MYC trims the proverbial dying leaves and financially frees up our (only) competitive surfing institution — all without truly hindering the athletes that can prove they deserve a CT spot — I suppose I can get behind it.

Molly’s mindset, as displayed in the above RedBull film, perfectly depicts why she belongs on tour. It’s been noted endlessly — to truly contend at the highest level, you’ve gotta have a nearly bulletproof headspace.

And Molly, in her self-awareness and raw hunger, is starting to show signs of being a very dangerous title threat.

Name an event on tour you wouldn’t have her on your fantasy team for.

I can’t.

Putting face. Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League


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