Jack Robinson: he was one of the in-form surfers of the 2024 Hurley Pro Sunset Beach | Photo: WSL

Jack Robinson and Molly Picklum claimed the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

The finals got underway in six-to-eight-foot perfect rights at Sunset Beach.

The proving grounds of Oahu's North Shore once again offered a real challenge to the best surfers in the world with solid waves and shifting lineups, but overall, plenty of opportunities to showcase their talent and kick off the new season. 

A monumental change in women's professional surfing happened over the course of the season's first two events, with the top 17 taking on serious conditions at Pipe and Sunset and some of the youngest competitors showing up with massive performances and commitment to raise the bar.

Picklum was an integral part of the charge in making history this month as she collected huge scores for her relentless approach to hitting the biggest sections of the waves, holding nothing back.

Today, she earned back-to-back titles at Sunset.

This win marks Picklum's second victory on Tour, out of four finals surfed, and the Australian will be wearing the yellow Leader jersey heading to Portugal for the next stop of the 2024 CT as the new world no.1.

"What a moment! Defending a title is so hard in our sport because the ocean is in charge," Picklum said.

"The ocean played its part for me, and I'm really, really happy it did that."

"Every event feels different, so I'm just taking it for what it is and trying to find the little fun moments in between it all."

"I definitely wasn't as confident in this event, but I always kept belief, and I think that's one of my strengths."

The women's final was a rematch of the second semifinal at Pipe last week between Picklum and Sakura Johnson, with a lot in the balance as the winning surfer would get to wear the rankings leader yellow jersey, leaving the Hawaiian leg.

Both surfers found similar waves to kick off the final, but the Hawaiian won the first exchange with better-timed turns in the critical sections for a 7.17 (out of a possible 10) over the Australian's 6.50.

Picklum backed it up quickly to take the lead midway through the heat and apply pressure to Sakura Johnson, who was surfing in her first-ever final on the CT.

But the Haleiwa local stayed patient, sitting in the lineup with priority, waiting for the right wave.

Her calculated approach, unfortunately, did not pay off as time ran down without offering any more opportunities for either surfer.

Picklum added yet another highlight to a spectacular four-week stint on the North Shore today with one of the biggest turns ever seen on the women's Tour at Sunset Beach.

Bettylou: The New Kid on the Block

In her semifinal bout against Brisa Hennessy, the powerful regular foot posted a near-perfect 9.67 for a high-risk, high-reward single maneuver on a double-overhead wave.

Bettylou Sakura Johnson reached her first CT final in her third year on Tour and has upped her game big time in 2024.

The 18-year-old posted some of the event's biggest scores, including a 9.17 in her first heat at Sunset yesterday.

One of the most confident surfers in the Pipe barrels and the big open faces of Sunset, the Hawaiian will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

"It's been an unreal last couple of days. We've been so fortunate to get good waves," said Sakura Johnson.

"I'm really just blessed to be home and to represent home, and have my coach behind me and have the confidence I needed to do well in this event. It's pretty unreal."

"Molly and I talked about it two years ago, and now we're doing it, and I'm really happy to be a part of it and to hopefully keep pushing this level, and it will be a new level of surfing for women's surfing in the next few years."

Molly Picklum: a win at Sunset after a runner-up finish at Pipe | Photo: WSL

Robinson on Fire

Jack Robinson continues to build his legacy on the North Shore as he picks up win No. 6 on the CT, his first at Sunset.

After an upset loss in the Round of 32 at Pipe, the Australian bounced back in the best way with total domination all week, an incredible display of his signature carves, and the ability to find the deepest, cleanest barrels at Sunset.

"It was a crazy last few months at home; I had a baby and everything before coming here, and it's all new and just adapting," said Robinson.

"I'm just enjoying it so much today. I know I didn't start good at Pipe, but it didn't matter. I was just trying to enjoy it so much, and it's so special."

"It was a cool wave, almost bending, and I've never been tubed twice on the inside here."

"And to have a final with Kanoa, we've grown up together, and we've been doing this for a long time. It's a cool history and a lot more to come."

Two surfers with a lot of history, competing against each other since their early grom years, Robinson and Kanoa Igarashi met in the final after dominating all week at Sunset.

The Australian pulled the trigger first and wasted no time as his first wave went straight to excellence, an 8.17, to make his intentions clear to his opponent.

After an unlikely mistake on his first attempt, Igarashi fought back with a 7.33 to stay in fighting distance.

But Robinson kept building momentum and found an absolute gem, locking into two barreling sections after a massive carve and was rewarded with a near-perfect 9.87 to put the Japanese surfer into an 18.04 combination situation (out of a possible 20).

Despite his best efforts, the gap was too much for Igarashi to overcome, and Robinson claimed the win. The West Australian will leave Hawaii ranked second in the world.

Kanoa Igarashi was in need of a big result as well after a disappointing early exit at Pipe and found his groove on the big open walls of Sunset, where he could lay down his lightning-fast turns to overcome some of the toughest competition this week.

"Growing up in California, Hawaii was just one flight away and a place we had to come and train, and back when I was younger, I would dread coming over because it'd be scary to be here on the North Shore to surf bigger waves," said Igarashi.

"But, over the years, I would try to put as much time as I could, and I have a really good team in my corner. Thanks to them, they always pushed me, and I knew that if I wanted to be a top surfer on Tour, I'd have to get good results here. I'm really happy with my start so far this year and just want to keep it going."

2024 Hurley Pro Sunset Beach | Finals

Men

  1. Jack Robinson (AUS) 18.04
  2. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.16

Women

  1. Molly Picklum (AUS) 11.83
  2. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 8.67

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