Over 2 decades chasing a dream

The Canoe Guru, Eli Helbert, is a 3rd generation canoer who spends his freetime canoeing into the most pristine and spectacular valleys of the world.  He has taken top honors at 2 World Championships, a World Cup and a World Extreme Race as well as numerous National and Regional Canoeing Titles.  He enjoys living out of his canoe for weeks at a time, and he sleeps comfortably under bridges and buses.  These days he usually brings his family in a 1992 Toyota Winnebago although he can still often be found sleeping in his hammock beside a warm riverbank in pursuit of his passion. Eli and his daughter, Sage, are the current defending North American Open Canoe Slalom Champions.



The Canoe Guru began his teaching career with the Boy Scouts in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  Since then he has taught courses for the Nantahala Outdoor Center in the Smokey Mountains, NCOBS, La Ola school of paddling in Germany and Austria, the Bear Paw Outdoor Center in northern Wisconsin, the Canoe Rack in Montana and Idaho, Oxford Riverside Center in England as well as participating in numerous other fantastic demos and canoeing adventures around the world.

Commitment to Safety

The Canoe Guru loves to spend his free time paddling around the Smokey Mountains.  However, seasonally he alters his activities when he becomes fearful that his beard might freeze to his pfd. 

In addition to his vast canoeing experience, he is a nationally registered EMT-B with a specialty in wilderness medicine.  He is a lead instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Institute of the National Outdoor Leadership School.  He is also certified in both swiftwater rescue, rafting and canoeing instruction by the American Canoe Association.  He is an Instructor Trainer for the ACA in Whitewater Canoeing and Rafting.  He offers courses around the world and works locally in the Southeastern US with Landmark Learning, www.landmarklearning.org, a clearing house of sorts for outdoor educators in need of a variety of professional skills.

The Canoe Guru has worked with many leading outdoor adventure companies around the world.  He has shared fantastic adventures with clients in New Zealand, Austria, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Costa Rica, British Columbia, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the United States. 

The Canoe Guru worked his way up from washing wetsuits as a teenager to a whitewater rafting rivermanager in his early 30's before realizing he was happiest when his office fit in his boat.

After spending a decade chasing the most infamous river waves on the planet, The Canoe Guru has returned to the Asheville, NC area to stay central to his family and some of the best canoeing in the world.  Stay connected to The Canoe Guru with the waves of the web, or click here for your next adventure.