Molly Picklum hopes to channel the charisma of ‘queen of browsing’ Steph Gilmore at Bells Seaside

Molly Picklum wants what Stephanie Gilmore has — not so much the eight world titles, but the surfing icon’s peace of mind.

Earlier this month, Gilmore and Rip Curl announced an eight-year, multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal.

Gilmore’s return to the surfwear brand comes as the Australian star enjoys a year’s sabbatical away from the world tour.

It also means the 36-year-old and compatriot Picklum, 21, share the same sponsor.

Picklum is at the forefront of the new wave in the women’s competition and she wants to improve on last year’s runner-up result when the Rip Curl Pro starts on Tuesday at Bells Beach.

“She’s the GOAT of our sport, the absolute queen of surfing,” Picklum said of Gilmore on Monday.

“The thing I take most out of Steph, obviously she’s really competitive and she would have some crazy knowledge in the jersey, but I just think how cool and calm she is.

“It’s how genuine she is, the love of our sport, to enjoy your surfing. She’s been on tour I think for 17 years and she’s enjoyed every single year.

“The fact she can say that is bigger than any world title she’s won — that’s more what I pick her brain about and that’s what inspires me the most about her.”

Molly Picklum smiles while holding a trophy surfboard that reads '1st place'

Molly Picklum is hoping to ring the bell at Bells Beach next week.(Getty Images: Tony Heff)

Picklum said Gilmore’s bumper deal with Rip Curl is also important for the economics of the sport.

“The surf industry and the way it’s looked, it’s been a tricky situation for a lot of surfers, male or female,” she said.

“Obviously it’s none of our business, where they landed, but it’s important for people to maintain their worth and stay strong.”

Picklum was runner-up to fellow Australian Tyler Wright at Bells Beach last year.

The year before, she was a first-round elimination — so is it time for her to win the famed bell trophy?

“Yeah — it makes sense, doesn’t it?” she said.

“Getting second, it does sting, for sure. But there’s a silver lining in everything and I’m happy to be back.

“I want to hear that bell ringing above my head, for sure.”


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