Insights + interviews

In Conversation With P.A Volunteer Trainer, James Leong

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We speak with active ager Mr James Leong Yip Foo, a volunteer trainer at People’s Association Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) on his love for sailing.

Despite conducting training lessons for more than 20 years, Mr James Leong Yip Foo, a volunteer trainer at People’s Association Water-Venture (Pasir Ris) still manages to learn new things every day. We find out more from the 58-year-old who has been an active trainer since 1994. What’s impressive is the fact that he does not mind the long hours and strenuous training regimes; on the contrary he feels that his constant training keeps him young and fit!

AA: We understand you have been conducting these training lessons for over two decades. Was there any vast difference in fitness now as compared to the past, given that you were twenty years younger?

JL: There hasn’t been much of a difference because sailing consistently for the last two decades has helped me maintain my fitness levels.

AA: Other than sailing, do you have a fitness routine that you keep to? What’s your advice for maintaining one’s fitness levels when it comes to sailing?

JL: My fitness regime includes regular endurance training and I jog at least once a week. Stamina is important in sailing so my advice would be to train regularly so that you can maintain your stamina levels.

AA: How did you manage to maintain your passion for the sport for so many years?

JL: I’m sure some would have found their fitness waning and reducing their workouts. Embarking on sailing expeditions every now and then definitely plays a part. At sailing expeditions, not only do you get to sail, you also get to meet like-minded sailors. Their love for sailing tends to rub off on you as well. Also, many of my training programmes at PA Water-Venture are for beginners who have no knowledge about sailing when they start-off. But by the end of the training programmes, they are able to sail independently. The sense of pride and joy on their faces when they pick up the sport inspires me to maintain my passion.

AA: Do you have any peers in your age group participating in sailing too? What are the common problems and restrictions that one may face?

JL: Yes, some of my old sailing friends are still sailing today, and they are mostly in their 50s. Flexibility may be a challenge for some beginners but regular movements and stretching exercises can help to overcome it.

AA: Have you ever thought of being a full-time trainer in sailing? Or is this strictly passion to you?

JL: Not really as I already have a full-time job in the semiconductor industry which I also enjoy. But being a volunteer trainer at PA Water-Venture gives me great joy as it allows me to share my passion of sailing with other people.

AA: What are the important things to take note when venturing into the sport of sailing?

JL: Being mentally prepared for this sport is very important as that will help set your expectations. Sailing is very fun, yet physically demanding. Maintaining an active lifestyle in our daily routine helps with the sport. Apart from that, I feel that enjoying the sport is the most crucial factor. It is for this reason that I do my best to ensure that my trainees are having a good time during my training sessions.

AA: What advice would you give to active agers who are interested in taking up sailing? Are there any specific things to prepare ourselves for the sport?

JL: My advice would be to definitely give it a shot. You can just sign up for one of our training sessions for beginners to learn the basics. If you enjoy it, you can continue pursuing the sport. It is a great way to stay fit while enjoying the sea and the breeze.

For readers who want to pick up sailing, they can register for a course online via and search for ‘sailing’ in the keywords tab. Alternatively, sign up for a pedal boating, bell boating, dragon boating, windsurfing or kayaking course at any of the following PA Water-Venture outlets:

1. Passion WaVe @ Marina Bay, 11 Rhu Cross 437440
2. Water-Venture (Bedok Reservoir), 911 Bedok Reservoir Park 479311
3. Water-Venture (Changi), 285 Nicoll Drive Changi Point 498988
4. Water-Venture (East Coast), 1390 East Coast Parkway 468961
5. Water-Venture (Lower Seletar Reservoir), 100 Yishun Ave 1 769140
6. Water-Venture (Pasir Ris), 125 Elias Road 519926
7. Water-Venture (Sembawang), 60 Jalan Mempurong 759058

For more details about the courses available, please visit or call 6247 7338.




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