- WSL / Matt Dunbar

One of the brightest lights of a new generation of Australian surfers has just graduated to the Championship Tour after newly-minted Rookie Caitlin Simmers decided to opt out of the 2022 CT.

"Although it is eventually a goal to be on the CT, I'm declining the spot for 2022," Simmers told the WSL. "I'd like to work on my surfing, spending time with my family and friends, and school to be more mentally and physically ready to face that challenge. Thank you to everyone for all of your support."

HOSSEGOR, FRANCE - OCTOBER 23 :  Caitlin Simmers of USA surfing during Quarter Finals of the Roxy Pro France on October 23, 2021 in Hossegor, France. (Photo by Laurent Masurel/World Surf League) California's Caitlin Simmers earned a spot on the 2022 Championship Tour but has decided not to take it citing personal reasons - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Molly Picklum, 19, finished the 2021 Challenger Series at no.8 - one spot below the CS cutline - after 5th place finishes at the ROXY Pro France and the Sydney Surf Pro buoyed by her consistent performances in challenging conditions.

"I'm so excited and grateful for the opportunity to be on the CT in 2022, competing alongside the world's best really is a dream come true," said Picklum.

"Qualifying was the next step for me, my team and I have worked so hard for this. I feel ready to go and can't wait to get started in Hawaii in a few weeks time.

"I wish Caity all the best for her career, she is an incredible surfer and I have no doubt we will have many years on tour together," she said.

Picklum's surfing is known for being a complete package, with surfing far beyond her years including solid rail turns, progressive airs, and being a standout during recent big swells at Kirra on the Gold Coast, proving she's also a very capable barrel-rider.

Picklum also has a very good competitive strategy, thanks in part to her work with former-CT surfer and coach Glenn Hall.

Picklum will be the latest Championship Tour surfer to come from the New South Wales Central Coast, a small but influential region that has produced many CT surfers such as Adrian Buchan, Matt Wilkinson and Wade Carmichael.

Picklum has also racked up some solid Qualifying Series results in 2021 with wins at the Mothernest Great Lakes Pro, Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro .

Molly Picklum at the Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro in Tweed Heads New South Wales, Australia. Australia's Molly Picklum is known for her progressive surfing and will now be bringing airs like this to the Championship Tour in replacement of Caitlin Simmers - WSL / Matt Dunbar

Picklum also made the Quarterfinal at the recent Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger on the North Shore, and will be now be headed back to Hawaii to begin her Rookie year on the big stage at the Billabong Pro Pipeline.

The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Pipeline gets underway on January 29. Keep it locked right here at WorldSurfLeague.com for the latest news and info as we countdown the start of the 2022 Championship Tour.

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