22 year old Polish racer and wave rider Maciek Rutkowski (Pol-23) returned from a fantastic winter on Tenerife. He now has released a nice clip with powerful wave and racing action. Additionally we have hooked up with Maciek for a little interview, which you can read below.
“The winter is gone and it’s passed way to quick. I’ve spent all of the 4 months in Tenerife and it’s been great in terms of wind and waves. This little clip came out pretty spontaneous. It’s just made from a bunch of footage I managed to download of friends, mostly Bartek from BJ Productions whom I can’t thank enough for turning the camera once in a while, while filming for his commercial projects. The action starts at at 01:12 so if you don’t wanna hear me yapping, just fast forward till then. I went for a little 90s VHS style which I’ve been brought up on and really miss in todays windsurf videos. Switch on HD, put the volume up and enjoy!” (Maciek Rutkowski, 9 times Polish champion and ranked 30th on the 2013 PWA Slalom tour)
Maciek Rutkowski in Tenerife 2014
Interview with Maciek Rutkowski
Continentseven: Your windsurfing in waves is improving. How many days did you spend in waves?
Maciek Rutkowski: I guess it would be around 20% being around 20-25 days, but to be honest it all blends together so I can’t fully recall. Definitely I was doing a lot of slalom and going wave sailing only if there actually were proper waves and a lot of days I would do 50/50. In winter there’s not much south swells, so in order for the swell to be build it simply needs to be windy. And this winter was really good in terms of wind – I’m 90kg and used 3.7m more than 10times probably. All in all I didn’t go wave sailing that many times, but once I was out I wasn’t back until dark, no matter what. The Medano area is such a playground and when it works it’s really consistent so if you’re willing to eat the rocks from time to time, you can really try fun stuff, and improve from session to session.
Continentseven: Will you compete in any wave events this year? You actually came 17th in Sylt in 2012, beating Jamie Hancock among others.
Maciek Rutkowski: Oh and I lost to Leon (Jamaer) by 0,5 point that year, remember that, the bastard hahaha! Yeah I wanna give it a try this year. The level is incredible and it’s not easy to even get a spot in the trials these days. I’d love to do just selected events but PWA is not interested in part-time guys, which is fully understandable and a good approach I reckon. I still gotta improve on my jumping a lot so I’ll be flying to Pozo in between slalom events and try to learn a lot without killing myself in the process which could be a bit tricky haha! I love riding waves so much that even in Cabezo I would always go out telling everybody I’m gonna jump, but once I see a good set wave I get so excited I can’t help myself and ride it, so I need a place which will kinda force me to jump – think you can’t go more in that direction than Pozo. Anyway, I’m going to try and see what happens. My bread and butter is racing, so if I do get a spot there’ll be zero pressure and I’m just gonna have fun and see how far this can take me.
Continentseven: Is Medano the perfect spot for the winter period?
Maciek Rutkowski: I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely perfect, but it has so many advantages. It’s really close to Europe, so whenever you have to fly home for some meetings or even for Christmas to see your family all it takes is a 200 euro flight. In terms of conditions it’s definitely not Maui/Australia/South Africa standard as winters can be very patchy in terms of wind but once the north-easterly machine is on, it’s like a gym – there’s some tough slalom sailing and some very consistent wave stuff in which you can really work on certain things wave after wave. And than there is the great setup with Pro X Train which is basically racing simulations and race element drills and Medano Training Centre which is the best off-water training I’ve been doing so far. On top of that the place is affordable, the food is really good in terms of fish, fruit, veggie etc, there’s very easy, constant, high-performance surfing conditions just around the corner in Las Americas and slabby bigger waves in the North. So it’s maybe not paradise and place I dream of every night, but you tick a lot of boxes with a relatively small place. It’s very functional, i think that’s the way to put it.
Continentseven: How many good wave sailing days did you have in total?
Maciek Rutkowski: Depends what you consider good. Coming from Poland you get amped when you see 18 knots and knee-high waves haha and for me every day is good to work on something else and learn something new. But one session that really stands out in my mind is the last wave session I had. It was 3.7 wind, logo-high waves and ultra-low tide so the Wall was all time. Long, super-clean walls and only me out there alone. I landed by far the biggest frontside 360 I’ve ever attempted and than destroyed my sail on the next wave and had to swim back into the bay. I remember I was just dying to get back out there, but it took me more than 30 minutes to swim in and it was already getting late and the tide was going higher so I just called it a day.
Continentseven: You are a very complete windsurfer. Are you motivated to do some freestyle in the near future, too?
Maciek Rutkowski: Yeah I love windsurfing so much I don’t wanna miss out on any of it’s aspects and I’m really looking up to those versatile guys like Antoine (anybody still remember he was freestyle world champ?) or Ross to name a few. Freestyle is kind of a funny story, coz when I was growing up guys like Josh Stone, Diony Guadagnino and Ricardo Campello, who were coming up, were my heroes, full on. But in Poland the freestyle scene was non-existent at that time and the Formula scene was huge so I kinda went into that and whenever it was windy we had waves, and later I unexpectedly won a few youth slalom events, so it was all there, besides freestyle. For a moment I thought it went pretty “gay” with all the sliding moves, but now freestyle is so freaking spectacular again with all those air moves, so it inspires me to get on the freestyle board for fun from time to time. I’m very bad, can only do a few basic tricks not consistently at all, so it motivates me to try to improve, but whenever I do a full speed switch catapult, my body says: “that ain’t for you, buddy” 🙂
Continentseven: Goals for 2014?
Maciek Rutkowski: Finally show what I’m capable of on tour. Last few years I’ve been kind of in between series and associations and a lot of times it was simply too much. I got the biggest win of my short career at the IFCA Grand Prix in Latvia, but than had to drive the night and fly the next morning to Turkey and compete the very next day and I payed the price for it, with a shocker result. So this year is about clear priorities and putting the most important thing, which is the PWA ranking, first. One of my all time idols Josh Angulo once told me: “All you gotta do is just be top 4 every heat.” And it’s really that simple. I mean, it’s not easy, as there are like 40 guys on tour, who can make the final, but this will be my focus: just pass heats and take it one heat at a time and letting the big picture paint itself without thinking about it too much. Hopefully that way I can qualify for the Warsaw indoor, and not have to count on any wildcards and stuff. That event will be the biggest windsurfing thing in Poland ever, and possibly worldwide as well. For me as a Pole it’s just huge, I’m so stoked that it’s happening and I’m already thinking of how to put on a show for the crowds haha! So yeah: slalom, waves, indoor, but most importantly having fun along the way. Life is too short to be sad or pissed and I’ve been wasting way too much energy on that. Bring on the season, I can’t wait!