Friday, February 22, 2013

He was Weathering Storms at Seven Years Old

Life isn’t always smooth sailing. For Lin Josua, a Year 1 Diploma in Sports & Wellness Management student from SBM, he had experienced sailing on stormy seas from the tender age of seven. Most kids that age have hobbies on land, but for Josua, the challenges of the sea are far more interesting.

He was introduced to sailing at seven years old when his parents enrolled him in a sailing introductory programme called GKA (Get Kids Afloat), where he spent one week during his December holidays learning the fundamentals of Optimist (a small sailing boat suitable for children) Sailing.

On the first day of training, he found an interest in learning the basics such as tying knots and steering a mock-up boat. On the second day, the kids were paired up, and each pair learnt to launch the boat and sail on water. For most of the week, the kids encountered stormy weather.

On one particular occasion, a 20-knot gusty wind blew at Josua's boat. He was caught off guard and got knocked over. He got a swollen bump on his forehead and had to be towed back to shore. After that, he wanted to give up sailing. But his parents encouraged him to continue and not let one bad experience deter him.

Thus began Josua's journey of entering the world of sailing. He began to love the sport. He credits his success to his religion and his parents. As a Christian, he is grateful that his beliefs had taken him through some of his darkest and toughest times. Josua has not looked back since and has high sailing aspirations. His goal is to represent Singapore in the 2013 World Sailing competition and the Olympics 2016.

The current sailboat Josua owns is a Viper 16 Multihull Catamaran.

He trains by himself and sails at the Changi Sailing Club with sailors from other nations. He also sails other classes of boats and catamarans. Certified with a Powered Pleasure Craft Driving Licence (PPCDL), he helps other budding sailors and also makes time to promote the sport by helping out in race events as a safety boat official.

You wouldn’t think this buff water-bound dude would have other interests, but in fact he does! Josua represented his secondary school Anglo Chinese School Barker in the Singapore National Snooker Championship in August 2009, and also holds a J H Kim Taekwondo Singapore Black Belt.

We interview Josua to find out more about his sport and what keeps him going.

Why did your parents encourage you to take up sailing in your childhood?
Sailing is an outdoor sport that instils independence, self discipline, life skills and character building. They wanted me to appreciate nature as well as overcome the challenges of sailing and weather elements. All these aspects cannot be found in a classroom.

Besides weathering storms, what other challenges did you go through when you first began sailing as a kid?
I fell into barnacles whilst launching my boat. Also, being very much smaller in size at seven years old, I struggled many times to "prop up" my boat when it capsized in stormy weather. Besides learning sailing skills, I also had to master the technique of racing and familiarise myself with the competitive nature of regattas.

What were the earliest fun and enjoyable sailing moments you had?
I enjoyed powerboat rides on my coach’s boat and catching crabs out at sea.

Is it difficult to cope with studies and sailing? How do you manage?
When I was younger in the Optimist and Byte National squads, I trained five days a week. Back then, I had to rush straight to the National Sailing Centre at the East Coast after school. I had lunch during my car rides there.  On weekends, I missed a lot of family outings and fellowship after church service in order to train. Now that I am training myself on the Viper 16, I have more flexibility to arrange my training schedule.

How has NYP accommodated and supported you in your sailing and studies?
I appreciate NYP for its good sports management lecturers and facilities. NYP is also supportive of my training needs. In fact, my lecturers permitted me to be overseas for about a week during the school term for an international competition. For the modules I missed, I could contact the various lecturers personally if I had any questions.
Josua receiving the NYP Student Talent & Achievement Recognition (STAR) Award in 2013 for his outstanding non-academic achievement

What opportunities did sailing give you?
I have travelled to Pattaya in Thailand, Nice and Le Pouliguen in France for international competitions. I enjoy meeting new sailors, making friends from other countries and learning on a broader global platform. The experiences and exposure I got from sailing in other countries and conditions have greatly benefited and enriched me.

What is your training like during non-competition periods?
I work out three to four times per week in the gym and do cardio training and practise sailing on weekends. Before a competition, I train four to six days a week.

Have you set any benchmarks or goals?
My personal benchmark and goal are the Olympics.

Any upcoming sailing events?
There are upcoming local club and national regattas. I hope I can find enough funding and qualify for the World Championship this year.

How do your parents feel about your achievements so far?
My parents are thankful that I have come a long way and they continue to believe that the best is yet to be. Above worldly achievements and success, what matters most to them is how I live my life and show my faith in God.

What is most rewarding about sailing to you personally?
The joy and tranquillity of just being out on the seas, facing challenges and overcoming different conditions. Of course, winning is rewarding too!

By Julian Abraham Chua

Julian Abraham Chua is an NYP graduate from School of Business Management (SBM). His passion for writing was ignited when he completed an overseas UK writing course and started contributing to the portal while he was still a student on the campus. He has since written for various magazines and publications including Straits Times, SG Entrepreneurs, Spin Asia, TimeOut Singapore, NTUC lifestyle, Campus magazine and SPCA newsletter. Besides writing, he adores soccer, has his own online business Stationaire and performs with his metal band Grottesca around town.  


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