Interview for CHS with the new team rider Maciek Rutkowski (POL-23) from Poland by Chris Pressler. Maciek will now sail in the colors of the ensign from Poland, in white and red!
You mentioned you had a few offers for possible sail sponsors for 2018. Why did you decide for Challenger?
Very simple. I tried all the sails with producers of which I could sign and Challenger was the best performing one. At this stage of my career nothing is more important than my performance on the race course. Having said that though, the opportunity to work pretty much one on one with a designer like Claudio Badiali is not something you get every day, so that was a big factor as well.
What’s you first impression of the team?
Well, Claudio I met only very briefly at a couple events, but prior to me signing and now after I signed we had long insightful conversations which really showed me that sky is the limit in terms of the designs. I can’t wait to fly down to Senigallia and see the facilities. I heard it’s something pretty impressive and the possibilities coming from a loft like that are definitely impressive. And of course I know most of the team riders: Nico Akgazcyian is a friend, Andrea Ferin started competing at a similar time I did so we go way back as well and you and me Chris I like to think we are friends as well haha!
And the products? You tested the 2018 AERO+ already in Tarifa. What were your first impressions?
Yeah I tried the AERO+ and also some new top secret stuff hihi!! The impression is great the sail has a ton of power, drive and acceleration, but at the same time is easy to go fast on which, despite what the brochures of all the brands claim, is not a combo that is so common in race sails. Of course there is never a perfect sail and we will work full power to improve some points as well!
Will you be involved in the development process for CHS from now on?
Yeah I will so if you don’t like something on the sails, it’s on me haha! On a more serious note though I was always full of ideas, but never really in position to make those ideas happen or change the product the direction I would like to. Now with CHS I finally get the chance to prove myself as a developer and learn a lot along the way!
Where and how will you prepare for the upcoming World Cup season and tune your gear?
Training has been the part of my season I feel that has been working pretty well the last couple of years so I’m not gonna change it. What I mean by that is that some of the worse results came from bad decisions or lack of composure rather than lack of preparation so yeah, I’m gonna stick to what I’ve been doing which is preparing myself full power physically now and then heading of to Tenerife beginning of February to start tuning up and training races.
What’s possible in 2018? You made it in 16th in the Slalom ranking in 2017!
Sky is the limit. I really feel I’ve made so many mistakes last year it’s hard not to think what if. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. I don’t think there was one event where I can say I really raced my best. So that’s what I’m gonna focus on, racing my best. My performance and the results will come. Stories like Marco Lang show you how patience pays off, so I’m gonna try to be a bit more patient from now on haha! The natural progression and I think the goal of like 25 guys is to finish top10. It would be great for sure, but I will really try to focus on my performance and putting heats together one by one.
And for the foiling. You were 5th overall with a 2nd at the final. Will you work on a CHS foil rig?
Yeah, funny enough the AERO+ tested absolutely sick in foiling. So it’s gonna be hard to top that, but Claudio already has some prototypes and we’re gonna start developing right away. This could potentially be the advantage. Last year I was totally lost with my gear, first we raced slalom and with a formula board I was dog slow because it’s just so much resistance with the one meter wide nose. I would start perfect and still get to the mark maybe top 5 if I was lucky. So I made myself a few custom boards with my friend Stefan Leciejewski, worked my ass off to get them perfect and the last one was absolutely flying on a slalom course, but in Sylt, without any notice, we switched to course racing and I got fucked again! Finally in New Caledonia I had a formula board and we were course racing and I was all good. Nobody will be sleeping and there are some guys training foiling more than anything else but I’m confident that if I work on some of my weaknesses I’ll be right up there!
Do you have a nickname?
In Poland I have a ton, actually very rarely somebody calls me by my name. On tour its mostly Maciek, but sometimes some Rutko happens or some Maggol, or Mouton from the French haha. Call me whatever you wanna call me, as long as I’m in front of you I don’t really mind!
Thanks for the interview Rutko and good luck for 2018!!