With a host of youth European and World titles to his name - including being named the 2012 PWA Youth Slalom World Champion - Maciek Rutkowski (Patrik / Point-7 / Maui Ultra Fins) is without doubt one of the most promising young and emerging talents on the PWA World Tour. The Pole isn’t just a racing machine either, as he proved at the 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup where he claimed a superb joint 17th in the waves.
Over the past couple of seasons Rutkowski has competed in a variety of disciplines, from formula to slalom and waves, but now it seems he’s ready to focus his mind and prove himself on the biggest stage in the world. Which discipline has the twenty-two year old decided to focus on? Find out in our interview with the young star below:
PWA: The last couple of years you have competed in a variety of disciplines, what will be your priority for the coming year and how do you think you’ve performed so far on the tour?
MR: “Last couple years I’ve been kind of bouncing back and forth between classes, associations, divisions or however you wanna call them and I’ve benefited massively from experiencing different types of competing in multiple locations and stuff, but specially last year my PWA ranking really suffered from that and it is the most important ranking in professional windsurfing, so it should come first and last year it seemed that I ticked all the boxes BESIDES the PWA ranking. I went to the IFCA Worlds instead of Korea and I ended up getting my first big international win in the IFCA Grand Prix in Latvia against some great guys like Steve Allen or Arnon Dagan, but 36 hours after receiving the trophy I already had to race in Turkey and had a bit of shocker on day 1, which was very hard to bounce back from. In Sylt I was coming off a bad ankle injury, which happened 1 day after coming back from Turkey, so besides the 12th in Costa Brava I didn’t have a good, or even normal PWA event last year. So this year I’m all about clear priorities and I’ll do everything I cannot to have stuff getting in the way of the biggest goals. Gotta give it a 100% at some point, otherwise you’ll never know if you’re capable of muscling the big boys!”
PWA: After a winter full of training how are you feeling?
MR: “I’m stronger than ever, fitter than ever, more agile than ever, faster than ever etc etc. I’m in the shape of my life, but the other boys aint sleeping either, so let’s see what happens.”
PWA: Do you think the off the water training has also made a big difference for you?
MR: “Yeah it’s huge! In December 2013 I started working with Tomas Grundahl of Medano Training Centre, who was already working with wave guys like Adam Lewis and Dany Bruch. Slalom was new for him, but he broke down all the elements of a heat and basically transformed them into physical excersices. And from day one besides the rather unpleasant consequences like being sore all over the place, I’ve seen improvement. Obviously as a slalom sailor we mostly worked on power, but for me the biggest difference is how much more control over that power and my body in general I've got. Hopefully I can keep the routine up throughout the season without Tomas standing over me with a stick, ready to strike whenever I’d be fuckin around like he did all winter!”
PWA: Typical daily routine? On the water, off the water, diet etc?
MR: “It depended from day to day really, but the whole winter was windy out there so most of the days you would find me on the beach by 10am latest, either pumping the marks for Pro X Train sessions (the full on race training we did with Mark Hosegood) or preparing my gear for a long day of testing. I’d mix it with wavesailing, whenever there would be swell, and as dead as I was after all that I would force myself to head over to the MTC for a 45minute intensive training with Tomas. As for the food again Mr. Grundahl flipped my world upside down and we worked on my diet quite a bit. I always ate a lot, like every slalom sailor obsessed with gaining weight, but this winter saw quite an improvement on the quality side of things. Tomas made me write down everything I eat and times I eat etc, so I can give you an example. I guess a pretty typical day would be around 200-250g of oatmeal in the morning with all sorts of fruit and nuts mixed in, than a snack in between the training/testing sessions like a few avocados with tuna for instance, than lunch which could be for example half a kilo chicken, 200g rice, 200g green beans and 2-3 red peppers and than for dinner a nice 500g piece of steak with broccoli and maybe some pasta depending on what’s gonna be going on the next morning. Some protein shakes also involved here and there. Obviously these are just examples, but the bottom line is I eat quite a bit and am starting to slowly eat better as well. Luckily Tenerife is not all that expensive and the quality of food, specially fruit and vegetables is very good, so that makes the whole process actually possible.”
PWA: Goals for the upcoming year?
MR: “Finally show my potential on tour. Last few years I had some good moments here and there, now it’s time to make those moments last, by adding some consistency. Josh Angulo once told me: "all you gotta do is be top4 EVERY heat.” And it’s really that simple. I mean, it’s not easy there’s like 40 guys on tour that 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.”
“Additionaly I’d like to give the waves a shot - this will be an all new learning experience and getting through the trials will obviously be the first goal along the way if I’m even worth a trials spot in the first place. Then you get the top seed in your first heat and those guys are machines, but sometimes they make mistakes too, so you just put your head down, do your thing and hope for the best. And if you do go down make sure you go down swingin. All in all 2014’s lining up to be tons of fun!!!”
PWA: Thanks Maciek, we look forward to seeing you at the first event of the year.
To see Maciek Rutkowski’s brand new winter training video, filmed in Tenerife, click here.