Below is a letter we just received from Eli Helbert, one of our own instructors here at Landmark Learning, after competing in the Whitewater Freestyle World Cup. Great job Eli- all of your friends at Landmark could not be more proud!
I just wanted to write a quick thank you to all of my Landmarkian friends for their support during the recent Whitewater Freestyle World Cup. For me the World Cup began on the way home from the Eden Guides WFR because I was able to stop off and practice on the way home. The first event of the three event World Cup was held at a rock Island, TN. This is normally a huge wave hole that is extremely powerful and my practice time reflected this. Unfortunately, when the event began, we had low water and a very flushy wave. So, after the event, my family and I ogled the sharks at the Chattanooga Aquarium and headed East to the Pigeon river. The Pigeon River wave is a great feature that was built by bored raft guides stacking up rocks to deflect the water. These raft guides did a great job and this event was fantastic. The judges had a large LCD screen mounted a few feet above the water and we had real time scoring that competitors could see from the water. This was the site of the most impressive open canoe event to date. All of the competitors looked good as we cartwheeled and looped our boats full of water for the crowd. After an extremely close finish, we packed up and drove to the Nantahala for the final event of the World Cup. I gave an Irish and 2 German competitor/friends a lift to the Nantahala. It is nice to be able to return the hospitality I have experienced from paddlers around the World. We stopped in Asheville and celebrated my 36th birthday and then returned to our goal of throwing the biggest tricks on the water. At the Nantahala we experienced a very sticky, but maneuverable hole. This is the site of the 2013 World Championship. After three weeks of playboating, we were all ready to go big. This event was streamed live over the internet, so we had one last opportunity to show the judges and the online-World our best tricks. I ended up sixth in the World Cup overall, but am fired up for the US team trials next spring. I learned two new tricks at this year's World Cup and hopefully will be able to utilize them in my quest to reclaim the World Championship title. However, for now it is time to shift gears and switch into a long canoe. Before I return to the outdoor classroom instructing Wilderness Medicine, my daughter and I will be competing in the National Open Canoe Slalom races at the beginning of October. Thanks again for cheering us on!