Maciek Rutkowski is a World Champion windsurfer and waterman from Poland. Competing on both professional (PWA) and Olympic (IQFoil) circuits he made a name for himself with his do-or-die attitude on the water and high-energy, contagious spirit outside of it.
From sleeping in equipment tents because he couldn’t afford a hotel to winning multiple World Tour events MR has seen it all.. and is not afraid to tell. Speaks 5 languages, swears in 9, travels 300 days a year but claims to have a lot more to see. He also claims he’s shy. Writes columns, hosts podcasts, rapped on a milion-view song, recorded an album, commentated a game on live TV and directed a music video for one of Poland’s pop stars. Somehow despite that she still made it.
Reads fast, eats slow. And a lot. He never got his degree but that doesn’t stop him from giving lectures. Recently elected to the PWA Management Board as a riders representative. Bit of a geek, bit of a rockstar, curious as hell, as tough as a teddy bear. Rode the biggest waves in the world, but is scared of the dentist. His friends call him Magol.. but he has no friends. Overall just an ordinary guy.. in some very extraordinary circumstances!
|Sail number||POL 23|
|D.O.B||13th December 1991|
|Height||184cm / 6’1″|
|Weight||91kg / 200lbs|
|Nicknames||Magol, Rutko, MR, Mache, Rasta Rocket, The Worm and many more|
|Hobbies||Music, basketball, videography, surfing|
|Home spot||Ustka, Poland|
|Goals||Another PWA World Title, Olympic Medal, maybe even one of the best ever? But most importantly to have tons of fun!|
|Favourite Spot||Fuerteventura for racing, Chile for waveriding|
|Favourite Song||The one I’m currently writing|
|Idols||Anyone that stays true to oneself and does stuff 100% their way|
|Words to live by||“Why not?”|
- PWA WORLD CHAMPION
- IFCA VICE WORLD CHAMPION
- FORMULA FOIL VICE WORLD CHAMPION
- 2X PWA EVENT WINNER (CROATIA 2020 AND 2021)
- 5X PWA PODIUMS (NEW CALEDONIA 2017, DENMARK 2019, CROATIA 2020, CROATIA 2021, SYLT 2022)
- 2ND DEFI WIND
- EURO-CUP WINNER
- IFCA GRAND PRIX WINNER
- 2X YOUTH WORLD CHAMPION
- 2X JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPION
Poland / National Achievements
- 19x Polish National Champion in 6 different disciplines (IQFoil, Formula Foil, Slalom, Wave, Indoor, Formula Windsurfing)
- First Pole to ride Jaws
13th December 1981 is a date Polish people don’t remember very fondly. A Russian-puppet prime minister called national state of war, putting troops onto the streets of every major Polish city. Exactly 10 years after that, in a hospital in Slupsk, North Poland, an almost 5kg boy was born and named Maciej.
Already in the late 80s a passionate sailor Wojciech Rutkowski built his first windsurf board. Naturally the passion had to be forwarded to his sons – older Leszek and younger Maciek. Nobody really remembers the exact moment Maciek stood foot on a windsurfer for the first time, but it must have been around the age of 6.
As the youngest noted rookie ever, Maciek competes in the PWA World Cup held in Leba, Poland. He’s 11 years and 8 months old. He finishes well outside the Top 100.
Before his 15th birthday Rutkowski wins his first Junior (under 17) World Championship title in Belgium. He also changes his sail number to POL-23, after one of his greatest idols, Michael Jordan.
When most of his classmates are focused on finishing middle school Maciek wins 10 out of 12 races and gets his second Junior World Title.
The Youth World Champion title escapes Maciek by one point, but once he gets a lead in the Europeans he never lets go of it and claims his first international Youth Title. In December in a coast town of Rowy, with -13 degrees outside, over a 100 guests sing “happy birthday” to the new 18-year old. After that night Rowy will never be the same, they say…
Maciek’s parents decide that due to his school finishing exams he will not leave for any kind of winter training that year. As a result the Youth Worlds in April are his first water time in months. He miraculously wins the event with a last second effort. A month after that he passes his A-levels in English, Math and Geography and get accepted into Kozminski Univeristy – the country’s finest school of management. As the reigning Youth World Champion he gets a wildcard into the PWA World Cup event in Costa Brava, Spain, The road ahead proves to be still very long as he finishes outside the Top 50.
At 20 years old Maciek can call himself a professional windsurfer – he signs a deal with Burn Energy drink giving him the first windsurfing income outside of prize money meaning he can drop his side jobs. Together with a group of friends they spend the 2 winter months in South Africa. On March 30th 700 people gather in Warsaw to see the motion picture from that trip. “Polish South Africa: Vengeance”, with it’s mini-plot and hardcore humor is an instant classic. Maciek closes the year with a PWA Youth Title – for the best racer under 23.
The young athlete is facing a choice – try to continue sharing his time between windsurfing and studying or focus on one of them. He follows his heart and spends the whole winter and spring training. In may he climbs the top5 of the IFCA World Championships In August he wins Grand Prix Latvia in front of 9-times World Champ Steve Allen. In September while playing basketball he brakes 3 ligaments in his ankle. Although he does finish the season, his injured ankle is far from 100% and pushes him down to finishing 30th in the PWA overall rankings for the year.
The climb continues with the first top10 finish in a PWA World Cup event – 7th in Sylt, Germany. That means finishing the year 16th overall – one of the youngest riders ever to reach the “free acomodation” places. In the meantime the biggest indoor windsurfing event ever happens in Warsaw. In front of 28.000 people Maciek wins the national title but fails in the World Cup event.
After a dissapointing 2015 season MR changes sponsors, joining the Gaastra Tabou international team. Two up and down years follow with a few top10 World Cup finishes, few national titles including one in waveriding, but no major success in terms of overall World Tour rankings. Hydrofoils become a thing taking the windsurfers into the air. Maciek finds his footing in the new discipline taking his first PWA podium with a 2nd place at the season finale in New Caledonia.
First signs of the real breakthrough 4 years in the making. After changing sponsors to Challenger Sails first World Tour race win comes at the very first event in Japan. At the next one in Korea another one is in the bag before catapulting over a piece of debris in spectacular fashion. IFCA Vice World Championship follows and a dream trip to Maui, Hawaii materialises. There MR becomes the first Pole to ride the infamous big wave spot of Jaws. The same year “Jaszczur” by Undadasea is released – a rap song featuring Maciek, hitting over 1 million views on YouTube.
Signs with FMX Racing, a start-up board brand formed by multiple World Champion Finian Maynard. After a slow start to the season results start coming in. 6th in Fuerteventura, 5th in New Caledonia and a polish-first slalom podium in Denmark cemented by a race win in the last race. Add a narrow miss on the Formula Foil World Title and you have the 27 year old finally joining the very top of the sport. Also first episodes of #WINDSURFLIFE are released – Maciek’s own YouTube series.
Covid strikes, meaning the PWA World Tour decreased to one event in Croatia. Maciek wins, but doesn’t receive a World Title due to not enough events. IQFoil replaces the obsolete RS:X as the new Olympic class for Paris 2024, throwing MR right into the olympic conversation. He comes 2nd in the very first event of the class, backing it up with a top10 in the Europeans. Slalom and Formula Foil national titles follow, numbers 16 and 17. In the Covid downtime The Windsurfing Podcast is born, with Maciek as host.
Another shortened season: a 4th in Israel and another dominant win in Croatia put Maciek in the World Title conversation heading into the final event in the South of France. Incredibly, wind doesn’t cooperate and no racing is done, leaving him in 4th place despite the highest points total and the only person to qualify for every single one of the 17 elimination finals. Outside of the PWA a 2nd place in the legendary Defi Wind long distance event and 2 more national titles including the first ever IQFoil Olympic one cap of the best career year…so far!
But then 2022 happens. Things don’t start so great with a 10th in Croatia where Maciek comes in as back to back winner and favourite. But a near miss on the win in Sylt and a solid 2nd place put him right in the title race heading into the last event in Japan. The standings keep flipping upside down every day, but heading into the last day of the season the Pole holds the narrowest of leads over closest rival, Matteo Iachino. But incredible bad luck strikes as Maciek hits a plastic bag in the quarterfinal of the last elimination leaving his gear broken and his hopes of a maiden World Championship seemingly crushed. After an epic rant in front of multiple TV cameras, he settles in the commentary booth watching the action on screen. All his closest contestants make the 8-man final, but Iachino only manages a 5th, putting the Pole on top of the windsurfing world for the first time in his countries history. After the celebrations end, Warsaw would never be the same again…