3 questions to Maciek Rutkowski

15/05/2024

Crowned PWA Slalom World Champion in 2022 and 3rd in 2023, Poland's Maciek Rutkowski remains a serious contender for the 2024 world title in both foil and Slalom X. Speaking to Windsurfjournal.com, he talks about his recent change of partners and the season ahead...

 


Windsurfjournal.com: You seemed to be pretty well established with FMX Racing and Challenger Sails over the last few years, so why the change of partners so late in the day?
Maciek Rutkowski: You know me, I would love to comment and give you all the spicy details, but I really cannot. Last time I was honest on my social media, I received a letter from an Italian lawyer the very next day! So much for the relaxed spirit of windsurfing, haha! All I can say is that it was a great 6 years and I could not be more proud of what we achieved together. Obviously, winning the world title is what stands out, but to be honest I remember all the times behind the scenes even more. From exciting R&D in a time where the sport was changing so rapidly, to strategising, marketing, bringing teamriders in, getting to do my first bits of designing, daily communications on so many different subjects etc. I really gave my all. And whether that is appreciated or not is really out of my control! Deep down I know I couldn’t really have done any better or worked any closer with the brands and I feel we made the absolute most out of the situation. I would love to of course win another world title last year, but wether that would change the outcome of the situation? I’m not sure… On the other hand, I could also leave right after I won the title in 2022, but I didn’t want to do the typical “use the small brand as a springboard and leave” type of thing. So for better or worse, I guess I would do that again. I just wish brands would be a little more focused on the big picture, on trying to make the best sport in the world return to the place it deserves, rather than interior battles in our little world. It feels like sometimes they’d be putting a ton of energy and loads of time into quite insignificant stuff like PWA equipment rules or trying to save a bit of money on riders, rather than putting that time and energy into helping the sport grow. In tough times, we need to come together and support each other. We are all connected. I see success of Challenger, FMX, NeilPryde or any other brand as success of windsurfing. So it makes me a little bit sad that such a small community can be so divided and sometimes so shortsighted. I really feel it’s time for a mentality shift. Now or never.
 


WJ: These are tough times for the windsurfing industry. Are you happy with these new partnerships with NeilPryde and Future Fly?
MR: I’m super happy to start this collaboration with NeilPryde. Growing up I collected VHS tapes, magazines and catalogues filled of the Neilpryde team. Josh Stone and Jason Polakow were my idols! Being from Poland freestyle or waves were not really an option, formula was big at the time and Wojtek Brzozowski just won a World Title… on a Neilpryde! Then when I went on tour Antoine was dominating. So all my life Neilpryde represented excellence, and it really feels like the perfect place for me to start this next chapter of my career! As for Future Fly, I’m not sponsored by them. Arnon Dagan is a long time friend and when he heard of my situation he just offered some boards to ride. Let’s see where this leads, I’m staying openminded - lets see!

 


WJ: How do you feel about the split between foil and fin from this season onwards, and what do you think of the new discipline of Slalom X?
MR: I liked the mix - pick whatever you think is fastest and go - I think that’s what racing is about. But at one point it became obvious that fin slalom will not survive this, and it’s still a super cool thing to do, specially in high winds. So we started to think how can we showcase the things fin can be better at then foiling. Jumping, manoeuvrability, going in shallow places etc. So that’s how SlalomX was born. I’ve been asking to put features like beach starts, obstacle jumps or chicanes into slalom since like 10 years so now I’m definitely looking forward to racing in this discipline. We recently had our first SlalomX training in Tenerife and I have to say it was even more fun than expected! We’ve been hearing a lot of people saying last year was the best racing show PWA ever put on, and I think we have a big chance 2024 will be even better! Can’t wait! 

 

To find out more about Maciek Rutkowski: www.instagram.com/maciekrutko

 

Source: Maciek Rutkowski
Photos : @Rafasoulart - Christian Laubaney

tags: Maciek Rutkowski NeilPryde

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