The Proteus raceboard is designed by Argentinian shaper Marcos Ruesch. Marcos’s background is in nautical design and car racing.
Marcos testing the pre-production design
Self-taught and captivated by design from a young age, Marcos’s adolescent reading was from books such as Ultralight Flight by Michael Markowsky and Aerodynamics and Airplane Performance by Isidoro Carmona. As a teenager, he began working for his father at the factory in Villa Carlos Paz. They made small boats and repaired others for the many sailors in the region.
Marcos was introduced to windsurfing by his cousin, Gaston Camaño – who had achieved 3rd place in the 1992 Raceboard Worlds. In 1993 the pair built their first composite raceboard, inspired by the designs Gaston had seen in Europe. But at this stage in his life Marcos was also focused on the world of motor racing.
In his twenties he committed fully to windsurfing, entering and winning his first regional raceboard event in 2006, and finishing 24th in the Worlds at Mendoza. He has continued the raceboard habit to this day, competing at the local and regional level, though admits to a relaxed approach to physical preparation: “no exercise, no jogging, no gym!” He’s a strong sailor nonetheless, with technical understanding and a good feel for tuning, aided by those years in competitive motorsport.
Proteus prototype takes shape
In 2006 Marcos built his first hollow board. In 2009 he built a 300cm hybrid design close in concept to a high-V RSX.
In 2011 he returned to true raceboards, building a design that showed promise and took some wins locally. Later came two more hollow boards built by Argentinian board makers Drakkar. The second of these boards performed better than the Phantom 380 but didn’t quite match the 377, though still achieved second place at an Argentinian Championships.
Marcos pushing the rails
At the 2013 Raceboard Worlds in the Czech Republic, Marcos boards were noticed and noted, including by Curro Manchón, who would later work for Unifiber.
In 2017, Marcos was experimenting with foil hybrids and had some preliminary designs for improvements on the Drakkar boards. It was at this time that Curro called to explain that Unifiber wanted to develop a raceboard. The timing was good.
Curro Manchon during the first test
Soon after, work began on the Proteus, the board that would be designed to take on the 377. Construction was with EPS core and the first upwinds augured well. A select group of sailors tested the board in Argentina, but almost no changes seemed to be needed. Marcos raced the board to third place in the year’s first Mendoza event. Not bad for an average Joe sailor.
It was time to take the board to Portugal to be validated by Joao Rodriguez and Curro. Both were blown away. Curro’s colorful exclamation told of “a board that goes better than the 377”. Joao reported back that “it has never before happened that I have nothing to criticize about a board, not even the position of the footstraps”.