Surfing-Australia day at Sunset as Robinson wins, Picklum goes back-to-back


(Reuters) - Jack Robinson nailed an astonishing double barrel wave and Molly Picklum a stunning snap top turn as Australians took the honours at the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach, the second round of the world championship tour, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu on Wednesday.

Robinson had a disappointing outing at the season-opener at nearby Pipeline, where he was one of the favourites, but rediscovered his form to win his sixth career title on the elite world tour by beating Japan's Kanoa Igarashi 18.04 points to 15.16.

"Far out, it was a crazy last few months at home, had a baby and everything before coming here, it's all new and just adapting," said the 26-year-old Western Australian.

"I know I didn't start good at Pipe but it didn't matter, I'm just trying to enjoy it. It's really special."

Picklum showed her comfort surfing the heavy water Sunset break, which delivered clean six-to-eight foot waves, to beat Hawaiian teenager Bettylou Sakura Johnson 11.83 to 8.67 and win back-to-back titles at Sunset Beach.

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

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

Picklum and Sakura Johnson fought out a stunning semi-final at the season-opening Pipe Pro, during which the Australian earned the first ever perfect score of 10.00 by a woman at the famous Pipeline break.

The 21-year-old lost that final but showed her form had not dipped in Wednesday's semi with a courageous snap turn into the jaws of a wave that earned her 9.67 points and got her past Brisa Hennessy.

"That's Sunset, you know," Picklum said. "You've got to commit and go for it and hope for the best, and luckily on that one I made it otherwise I'm dead."

Robinson had already laid down a marker with a score of 8.17 from his first ride in his final against Igarashi and he sealed the deal with a double barrel on the fourth wave he caught to earn 9.87 points, the highest score of the men's event.

"It was the gift that kept on giving," he said of the wave. "I didn't know I was going to do it then, boom, two barrels and I thought, 'okay, this is going to be a big score'."

Robinson, who moved up to second on the championship standings with his win, will be one of the favourites for Olympics later this year having last year won the Tahiti Pro on the break that will play host to the Games.

Picklum and Hawaiian John John Florence, a quarter-final loser at Sunset, will wear yellow rashies as championship leaders heading into the third round of the tour at Peniche, Portugal early next month.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, Editing by Michael Perry)

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