- Hi Maciek! Please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi to all 99Flavor readers! My name is Maciek Rutkowski, 26, from Poland, professional windsurfer since 5 years, but windsurfing since I can remember. Hopefully I can be remembered as a good guy out of the water as well haha!
- Who inspired you to start windsurfing?
My dad was super into sailing, but when windsurfing came around he built a board taught himself out of a book and never looked back. So when I was little we used to go to lake or sea quite often and naturally I got into it. I have a 5-year-older brother, so he was always the measuring stick and when we got into competition he really drove my level up.
- Where do you normally train out of the racing season?
I’ve now spent 5 winters in Tenerife and its close to a perfect training place, with the variety of conditions and outside activities as well. In between events I usually train at home or at event locations, so for example to Fuerte I’d always go a week earlier and train strictly for the event.
- Can you describe a regular training day?
Right now in Tenerife I wake up around 7, do my meditation and other mental preparations, have breakfast, prepare lunch into a box and go to the beach around 9.45. Check the conditions, rig and at 11 we would start racing. 3 sessions of 5 heats back to back. In between the sessions I eat what I prepared in the morning (usually something like rice, chicken, avocado and a bit of veggie) and hydrate. We are usually done about 5pm, go home, eat, do some emails, cook dinner, stretch, eat and repeat the next day.
- Is there something that you would change in the slalom format?
I would really love to put an obstacle (sausage) on one of the last reaches when it’s windy enough, say above 18 knots or so. Imagine in Fuerte on the way… would be sick I think. Unfortunately the majority of sailors felt like this wouldnt be slalom any more or that it would be too dangerous. But I would love it to be a bit more technical, maybe a chikane or super short reaches or something? Whatevers exciting and good for the show I’m all for it.
- Fuerte is upcoming: do you like to compete there? Which are your sensations?
I love Fuerte. Since Im on tour Its always been my favourite event. Simply because we race a lot and we race in good, challenging conditions. I feel like this is the real slalom and even the years I didnt do so good, I had a ton of fun! So this year I wanna have fun and pass as many heats as possible. If I sail close to my best, good things will happen, so Im really looking forward to that!!!
- Regarding trim equipment and training, are you extremely precise and meticulous…I mean “millimeter fanatic” or not?
To some extend you have to be if you want to be a successful slalom racer. So I am, when I’m preparing to events, but then at events I try to focus solely on my racing – after all you can be the fastest guy on tour but if you don’t start well you’re not gonna make finals, let alone win them. So there has to be a balance there.
- Do you like foiling? Do you think that foiling will be the future of windsurfing?
I love the feeling of foiling. I think it will be the future of LIGHTWIND windsurfing, yes. Its ridiculous how efficient these things are, being fully powered in 6 knots with an 8.6! Will it ever beat the feeling of blasting on small slalom gear in 40 knots, or riding mast high waves…? I doubt it, but who knows. It’s actually easier than most people think so I’d like to encourage everyone to try.
- Which boards do you ride? And which one is your fav?
First of all I need to say how impressed I was when I tried the new World Cup Slaloms! I signed the contract the same day haha! They are so good its hard to pick a favourite it would be like picking your favourite kid or something. I’ll most likely end up using the 139 and 89. For the medium board I’m still a little on the fence between the 109 and 119, but they’re both ridiculously good, just the range is a bit different from one to the other. I never had such good boards in my career thats for sure.
I also managed to get a session on the Chameleon 93 and if I have to pick one favourite it might be it, just because its a wave board, I have only one of them and whenever I get to use it I have tons of fun!!
- Do you participate to the R&D of the new boards?
Yes I was working very closely with Finian on the new foil line and I’ll be loosely involved on the slalom board too.
- Out of racing events months, every windsurfing day is “a training day” for you or you still like to enjoy sometimes a session in the water just for the pure pleasure of windsurfing? If yes, when you did it lately?
Every time I go I try to feel appreciative of how beautiful the thing I’m doing is. Of course sometimes it feels like a job, but my passion for it is still very strong and very much alive. But especially when I see waves after a long period of just slalom sailing I definitely feel like a kid again!
- Do you like wave sailing?
Yes, absolutely love it. Feels like the purest form of fun and self expression, but I also get a very visible process of beating my old self of trying to do new manoeuvres or do the old ones better, faster, with more style etc. So for me wavesailing has a perfect balance of careless fun, freedom, but also challenge. Although after a while I do miss racing, so I guess I need both in my life!
- Which is the move/jump that you mostly like?
I’m not such a good jumper, but trying doubles gives me a great kick. I never landed one, but even when I rotate 1,5 and smack the water super hard I feel I’m alive. Other than that big back loops are fun, cause you can go as high as you please and on the wave proper takas and frontside 360s are a great feeling.
- Which one in your opinion is the best place in the World for overall windsurfing training?
Again, thats like trying to pick your favourite child haha. If I had to move somewhere it would probably be Tenerife, because its fairly good and still within a short flight from Europe. But you don’t really get down the line conditions, so its a big minus. I guess Maui would be the one, but its just ridiculously far and expensive. So maybe Chile? I went only one time and had all time conditions, but again the water is cold and theres not so much civilisation where you sail. You see? Impossible hahaha!
- Korea, Japan, Costra Brava and Portugal: what about your feelings about slalom and foiling races after those 4 first PWA event?
All these contests where held in pretty good conditions, maybe except Costa Brava which was extremely light, but its like that every year so we’re kind of used to it by now. For my personal performance I have speed which I never experienced in my life and maybe thats why I make some really silly mistakes. In Korea one mistake less would put me top5 in both slalom and foil. In Portugal top10 shouldnt have been a problem as well. So on one hand its kind of a dissapointment but on the other its good to know I have the speed and skill for the events to come!
- What’s your goal for this year?
Finally reach my true potential in racing. Last few years I’ve been really up and down, mixing great results (2nd Noumea foil, 7th Denmark slalom) with poor ones. It’s time to get more consistent at a good level and put a whole season together. Now I know very well that with my new setup of I-99 and Challenger Sails this will come easier. I’d say sky is the limit, but it’s not. There is no limit.
Photos by PWA/John Carter