EULOGY – Passing of a Malaysian Windsurfing Legend
Yeap Leong Soon, 67, passed away peacefully in his home with his family by his side on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. He was a grandson of one of Penang’s first millionaires. His grandfather Yeap Chor Ee came to Penang in the late 1880’s and during his time, he built an empire in banking, real estate and commodities trading. Leong Soon left for his tertiary studies in Canada and returned to Penang after his Engineering Degree in 1976.
Leong Soon was one of the pioneers of windsurfing in Penang and Malaysia. He started learning the sport in 1980 along with a small group of friends including Peter Moor, Nigel Loh, Tony Khaw and Kenny Tan. He was also instrumental in setting up the Malaysian Boardsailing Association soon after. His passion for the sport was followed by many years of involvement and participation in Division ll regattas around Malaysia in Kuantan, Lumut, Desaru, Port Dickson, Singapore and Penang.
He helped Peter Moor design a Div ll board which resulted in it being built locally in Penang in 1983. His participation in windsurfing regattas and racing never stopped throughout his life until his sickness put a hold on it. He was racing Slalom Boards and Race Boards in the 1990’s and 2000’s and later followed that up with racing Formula Boards internationally all over the region. He contributed enormously to Malaysia’s sailing community. To promote youth windsurfing, he funded from his own pocket, a fleet of BIC Technos and distributed them to all the states in Malaysia. This helped tremendously to raise the standard of competitive windsurfing in Malaysia. All this done with little fanfare and publicity. That is typical Leong Soon.
Those who have known him will remember him in the fondest manner, as a generous and loyal friend, his good sense of humour and never ending stories of his racing experiences. He was always willing to help newcomers to the sport of windsurfing. He was a dear friend to all of us in the windsurfing community. He will be sorely missed.
Leong Soon is survived by his wife Arisa, daughter Alicia and son Zachary.
We, here in Singapore will always remember Leong Soon as a gentleman and a great sportsman – the formula windsurfer who drives 700 km every year from Penang to Singapore for the Singapore Open Windsurfing Competition. We will miss you, Leong Soon !
Eulogy contributed by Kenny Tan, Jason Lim, Joe Chua and Lemmy Teo