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Dial 1 for pickles…

by Jesse Starling

After not making the cut in 2022, a completely rebranded Molly Picklum took the world by storm in 2023. Ultimately we decided a phone call was necessary, it went a little like this… 

Ok so 2023 Molly Picklum has hit the ground running and is a completely different beast to the Molly we saw in 2022. I just want to know what clicked and what happened in the off season for you to be able to evolve into the competitor that we’re seeing today. 

Honestly JJ so much has happened in the last couple of years, I think at the end of my 2022 CT season I was obviously gutted I didn’t make the cut but I knew the experience I gained in the jersey on my first CT season was going to give me such an advantage coming into 2023. You know I can sit here and openly say that I was scared in the 2022 season, scared of losing, scared that after all that training and hard work that there was a chance I could loose everything in the blink of 5 events. But I just kept telling myself you know you can rise as quick as you fall and I truly believed that and told myself this over and over again. So at the start of this season I just decided I don’t want to be scared anymore and that’s why you’re seeing the molly you’re seeing this season”. 

Molly picklum after first ct win at sunset… pic: @wsl

We obviously spent so many years together watching our idols surf on tour and we watched the yellow jersey bounce from icon to icon, and now you’ve tasted that feeling. What was it like to finally earn it and wear that jersey yourself, because it was pretty surreal for me to see you in the Yellow Jersey so early on in your career. 

Yeah wow it was pretty crazy for me, I knew it was coming and I knew one day I would get it but I think once I got it I had so many people telling me everything that comes with it and all this added weight I was going to feel but honestly I was just so stoked to be there and to have it, I know it sounds cliche but I was really just trying my best to soak it all in because I knew things like this can be so short lived so I was just trying to take it all in right then and there”. 

You just mentioned things like this can be so short lived… you know it’s so hard to just get the yellow jersey and it’s even harder to stay there, you managed to hold onto it from Sunset to Bells.. What was it for you that kept the pressure down and the drive high to stay as number 1.

I feel like the biggest thing that keeps the pressure down and the drive high is just the natural sound and energy that the yellow jersey can give you, and knowing that no doubt it can go in a split second. I just feel like it’s all a part of the jersey and I’m on one big mission to put forward my best surfing and my best heat surfing and just try my absolute best in every situation. Whether I’m in yellow or whether I’m in last whatever it is, I feel like it’s all just a big journey that is going to be a big roller coaster ride but I am here for it and I’m just going to try and keep chipping away no matter what”. 

Molly in the yellow jersey at bells… pic: @wsl

You know as spectators we always hear about how much weight the yellow Jersey adds to competition but for watching you in the yellow jersey I thought you looked super poised and comfortable in it, did you feel any weight came with responsibility of being world number 1. 

At the end of the day, a coloured rashie no matter what the colour is.. Isn’t going to get me a 6 or an 8, I am, so I really just took that attitude into my heats, because really it doesn’t matter whether I’m in red, white, blue or yellow it’s up to me at the end of the day to make my own way through heats”. 

I really enjoyed the outside things that came along with being world number one, you know it was strange for me to have an introduction before my name when i met anyone new, i wasn’t “hey this is Molly Picklum” anymore I was “Hey this is world number 1 Molly Picklum” but I definitely had more roles to play as world number one, more shoes to fill, more panels to sit on but i really enjoyed it, as you know I love talking and I was having the best time and was just trying to take it all in”. 

Molly Picklum at bells.. pic @wsl

Did you find that being world number one did bring more brand opportunity and sponsorship to your front door, you know we did see you cruising around in a baby blue Porsche down in bells.. 

The BLUEBERRY! Yeah I loved that car and I felt pretty boujee driving that beast. This is a tricky question and I want to break it down in 2. I definitely think being world number one gave me more opportunities and you become a lot more appealing to a lot of brands for sure, like I mentioned early you have more shoes to fill and more roles to play, however, I think the jersey got me there but it will be me who keeps the opportunities there. You know, being world number one got me in front of all the right people, but it’s me, my personality and who I am that is going to keep me in front of all the right people and I have no doubt about that”. 

From my point of you, I think as a spectator as well it was really entertaining to see a new face in the yellow jersey, like we know the facts are there and the same 3 women have won the world title for the last 15 years, so seeing a fresh face on top so early on in the season created controversy and entertainment, it does leave you to ask the question is this the year the sport takes a corner? 

You know I feel like maybe it’s not this year but I do think the sport is turning a corner, whether it’s on the CT, CS or QS, there’s entertainment wherever you look and I also felt like you know me being in the yellow jersey created so much entertainment for the sport and I knew it was there so it pretty much fired me up even more to put on better performances and to just stay there longer. But I also know that the question of “is this the end of an era” really fuels Stephs fire and I know it does the same for Tyler and Carissa so I know they’re not going anywhere anytime soon and they’re definitely not going to make it easy for us to keep our spots up there but I know that me and the girls in my generation are going to fight pretty hard to be at the top”. 

Molly just being molly… pic ripcurl women

Lastly, a bit more of a personalised question, we obviously went from little groms running a muck up and down the east coast at all the grom comps, to now you as world number one and myself chasing my dreams in realms of my own.. If you could sit down with little Molly and Jesse, what would you say to them?

“Haha we really should share our stories of us running a muck at all the grom comps… but honestly JJ first of all I would just give them both the biggest hug. I would just tell them to stay who you are, and I know that sounds so cliche but you know we’re both great people and honestly we were great kids with great morals and we’ve both stayed true to them this whole time even now years later. I think being a good person is really what it’s all about and also knowing that a heat win or loss doesn’t define whether you are worthy or not, you define that. And honestly I’d tell them to just keep trying and when times make you feel like you don’t want to try anymore, dig deeper and try a little bit harder. Oh and enjoy it all. Haha that’s it”.  

And now for a quote that my mate pickles said to me that i want to pass on with all of you… 

Motion makes motion.. 

In times of feeling down and out, whether it’s not making the cut, a bad surf or even just life coming in from all angles, motion makes motion, start moving with positive intention and the rest will follow. 

keep up to date and watch Molly via the WSL in the upcoming wave pool event.



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