Early Season

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Maciek Rutkowski gunning for more despite best ever start to a season

Maciek Rutkowski (I-99 / Challenger Sails) broke back into the world’s top 16 last season for the first time since 2014, so if you’ve had said to the the Pole that he’d be ranked 8th overall after the opening two events you’d have thought he’d be delighted. However, the 26-year-old clearly has big plans this season and he’s shown glimpses of why… firstly he recorded his best finish in an elimination in the opening race in South Korea – 2nd – while also looking set to earn his first bullet on the slalom world tour – plus he won a foil race in Japan to show he’s definitely extremely competitive in both disciplines this season. After a bright start to the season we caught up with Maciek…

Hey Maciek, how’s it going?

Just chillin at home, getting my body ready for Costa Brava after 3 weeks of Asian food and Asian beds haha!

So, obviously in South Korea it looked like you were on course to win your first slalom elimination on the world tour… have you gotten over that disappointment now and have you been able to take away the positives? You’ve clearly got the speed to be challenging for the top places…

Yeah and that’s all that matters. Sure I’d rather have it in the bag but screw it. I did it once I’m pretty sure I can do it another time… sans the catapult of course! Were you not entertained?

8th after two events is your best start to a season ever… You’d have probably snapped someone’s hand off if they had offered you that?

Yes, but that’s another reason why I’m pretty reluctant to put stiff goals. Last year it would be great, but it’s a new year, new gear (shoutout I-99/Challenger Sails!!) , new speed, new me as they say. So for the 2018 Maciek I see it as a good start, but nothing all that special. Take away the catapult and one of the two dumb mistakes I did in the quarters in Korea and here I am top 5. But it is what it is and I’ll take it. As one Brazilian 2x World Champion always told me: if I had six tits I would be a pig…

As well as starting well in the slalom – you also won your first final on the world tour in Japan in foiling – while also leading the foiling in Korea after a couple of races – how pleased are you with your performance in the foiling and what do you think about the foiling discipline?

I’m pleased with my speed for sure, my gear is working great and I’m right up there to win races. But so are 5-10 other guys and you gotta put it together tactically, which I wasn’t consistent with, hence my results don’t reflect my speed. Just as most guys, probably everyone except Gonzalo [Costa Hoevel] right now, it’s a learning process and I’m enjoying it a lot. It also more than doubles our water time on the tour, which I really appreciate. There’s nothing worse than sitting on your ass not knowing if you’re gonna race or not. With foiling, you’re guaranteed that you’re gonna race most days.

Where do you see foiling fitting in? For me foiling looks way more exciting and dynamic when it is basically slalom windy…

I wouldn’t necessarily say so. It looked really exciting in Korea, because the course was short and super close to the beach. Of course we don’t want a 3-4 knot pump fest, but as soon as we’re easily foiling it’s pretty exciting. I agree that there’s a pretty big overlap and foiling can be super exciting while slalom would be a 9.4m procession after the first mark. But I think there is space for both and a package like this will make competitive windsurfing more exciting and appealing than ever.

Do you find foiling races scary to compete in?

It was pretty scary in Korea, but not because it’s foil racing, but because we raced in conditions none of us really trained for! The way the events are set up foil was supposed to be the lightwind discipline, but Korea was all time windy this year, so we had no choice but run it in 30knot gusts. Once we all train in those conditions a bit as well it will become way less scary. Doubt it will get less exciting tho – the fastest you go on a foil is always on the edge of control so we’ll keep seeing epic crashes – at least for some time!

The next event in Costa Brava is just under a week away – are you ready?

That’s the wrong question. Is Costa Brava ready for me? Hahaha!!

Haha. Thanks Maciek. See you in CB.

You can stay up to date with how Maciek fairs in the 3rd slalom event of the season by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com between 5th-10th June.

Source: PWA

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