Maciek Rutkowsky exaplains the new PWA word “The Worm”

Hey Maciek, what is your ranking and best result this year at the PWA Slalom? Your best result in general this year?
My ranking at the moment is 18th – pretty bad, but if I look at the points its super tight up to 13th or 14th so anything can happen. My average results from the beginning of the year are haunting me and I’m missing a super good result that everyone around me on the ranking seems to have, but I’m planning to push thru it, just like last year 😉 Apart from PWA the highlight must be winning the Euro-Cup in Croatia in my least favourite conditions (light wind and flat water). I ended 3rd on the ranking there, which is not great, but definitely gives the motivation to come back there and try to win the whole thing next year!

How was the level in the new Eurocup against the PWA?
I’d say the winners final on the EC is like a first or second round on PWA. Sounds easy, but its actually not that easy to win even a first rounder on PWA and going into a lower level event that’s all you wanna do – win.

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You have been in the ‘way’ of all pro windsurfers since a very young age? When did you first compete, and how did you end up climbing all the way to top 15 of the PWA? Tell us a summary of your windsurfing carreer.
I first competed in 2003 when the big formula events, including the PWA, came to Poland. It wasn’t until 2010 though, when I started treating it seriously and until 2012 til I did the whole tour. So it seems like I’ve been around for ages, but it was always small steps and only last year I made a big one going from 30th to 16th and making a final every event etc. Now I feel at home on the PWA tour and would really like to jump that next level as soon as possible.

The last  years you have dedicated yourself also to waves. What is your ambition with this discipline?
I wouldnt say dedicated. It just kinda happened. I applied for a wildcard in Tenerife and got refused. But Camille got injured so last second I got his place. I passed the trials there so I entered Denmark Sylt and France and passed all of those as well and finished 27th overall, which is better than all my slalom career until 2013! But you can’t really compare the level I guess.. Anyway I’m not sure about my long term ambitions – for sure I would love to be top10 one day, but it’s super hard to do both at the same time and slalom is the priority and I just don’t know whats gonna happen.

Is the competing side of it difficult, or is it that the level is too high?
Actually probably my level of competition is better than my level of freesailing. Don’t get me wrong I have bad heats like in GC and Tenerife this year, but in general I like to compete and think I can do it pretty good no matter which discipline it is. It’s just that the level in waves right now it thru the roof and specially in porttack jumping conditions theres a lot of amazingly talented guys.

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If you would pass the trials, would it get more difficult, or would something change?
Well it’s nice to pass the trials, but if you do you come up against a top 4 seed, so then it’s just fuckin hard. So unless you have a monster heat and that top4 seed has an absolute shocker your focus is on the double elimination where you come up against guys more your level. But the double doesn’t always happen so its really really tricky.

Last year, you being a rookie in the waves, actually ended up in the first heat in Sylt against your same team member, Ricardo Campello. How did that go?
Haha it’s pretty funny cause we hang out a little bit and he’s been talking all year how he’s challenge me in slalom and every time there would be an opportunity he would find an excuse not to go, so I told him I would beat him in waves instead. So I guess he got a little extra motivation for this one and pulled a 9-point ride on his first wave and pretty much destroyed me. Luckily I got revenge in a windSUP race later in the week. We’re both super competitive so even after that he was really upset haha! There was 20cm waves and I caught one in one of the heats so obviously I claim I beat him in a wave ever haha!

What moves do you miss to be top 20, top 10, top 5, winner?
Jumps, jumps and more jumps. One footed backloops, tweaked pushloops, doubles, push-forwards etc. Unfourtanetely the list is still pretty long, but it’s getting shorter slowly.

Do pro slalom sailors also wave sail for fun and can they rip? Do wave sailors slalom sail for fun and are they fast?
Yeah everyone sails waves for fun and quite a few of the guys can do some good stuff. I think it’s quite important just to get a bit more feeling and technique and you see the guys that wavesail have a bit more of a natural feeling and they just look smoother specially in tough conditions. Not many wavesailors do slalom and usually they’re not really that big or super strong, so it takes a while for them to get up to speed, but the ones that do, like Josh for example, are super good.

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How many pros do more than one discipline?
Not many, at least not full time Taty does it, Dieter does it and I do it and I guess that’s pretty much it. Ross used to do it and maybe he’ll come back to doing it, as he entered the trials in Sylt.

Who does this the best?
I think Ross used to be the best with top10 results in wave, top5 in slalom and winning in Formula. Now I’d have to say Taty. Top5 in single events in both slalom and freestyle is pretty impressive.

Can a freestyler be better than a slalom sailor in the waves?
I think it’s more natural for freestylers to go into waves than slalom sailors. At least that’s what the history shows. Ricardo, Brawzinho, Kauli, Victor, Thomas, Skyeboy, Profitt and many many more guys did both disciplines and had success in both. The list of slalom/wave cross overs is much much shorter specially in the last 10-15 years.

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Will you also do the event in Sylt after this event?
Yeah sure! I’m already there for slalom so why not do the waves??

Do you plan the PWA wave tour also for next year?
I don’t think I’ll do it. I wanna focus on slalom full power as I feel like I’m a step away from doing really good. And waves I will train and focus on learning new stuff and come back when I feel like I can do more than just pass the trials.

Lately there is a new word in the slalom scene. The worm? Is this name given to you, or also to others? What is this exactly?
Haha! I don’t really know what it is, but Finian introduced me to it in Turkey. Basically The Worm is this type of competitor who grinds thru heats with his racing skills and decisionmaking rather then pure speed. Kevin Pritchard was the perfect Worm and if thats what it actually means I don’t mind being one at all. Just hope it doesn’t have any other, secret meanings hahaha!

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