Posts Tagged ‘Banana George Blair’

The Barefooting Community Loses an Icon: Banana George Blair

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Banana George is without a doubt the most well-known barefoot water skier anywhere.  The legendary barefooter passed away October 17, 2013 at 98.  Banana George didn’t retire from the sport until he was 93 and he managed to do a one foot during one of his last runs. He’s the only barefoot water skier to ski on seven continents, a feat recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.  He was inducted in the Water Ski Hall of Fame in 1991:  Banana George in the Hall of Fame.

Banana George and Keith St. Onge

Keith St. Onge and Banana George

Banana George Turns 93

Banana George Has Gone Far for a Skier Who Travels by Foot

Breaking the Age Barrier

There’s No Mellow Yellow in Banana George

Barefoot Old Boy, With Cheek

Banana George Water Skis Way to Health

Banana George: Accidental Hero

Banana George Named One of “Sexiest Men” in Sports Illustrated

Banana George Rolls Into Town

Banana George Barefooting at 85

Banana George Turns 90

In a tribute to The Banana Man, Keith St. Onge donned one of Banana George’s old wetsuits and took a footin run:

KSO in Banana George's old suit

Growing Bolder Segments on Banana George:

Banana George Battles Back

Hot Chicks and Cool Cars

News articles:

Banana George, One of the Biggest Names in Water Skiing

Banana George: The Most Interesting Person in the World

USA Water Ski News: Banana George

George Blair: Steamboat Resident

Banana George Action Hub

Banana George Obituary

If you’d like to contribute back to the sport in honor of Banana George, the American Water Ski Educational Foundation (AWSEF)  has set up a scholarship fund to benefit young skiers:

Banana George Blair Ambassador Scholarship

By: Karen Putz

Banana George in New York

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Photo: I stumbled upon a National Treasure yesterday.  I was walking down 3rd Avenue when I noticed an old man in a wheelchair.  He was being pushed by a caretaker.  Despite his physical condition, he had dressed with extreme care.  He wore an outlandish yellow outfit.  Everything about him was yellow, from his shades to his socks.  Intrigued by his appearance, I bent down and asked for a photograph.  He silently nodded approval.  After I'd taken his photograph, his caretaker offered a formal introduction: "This is Banana George," she said, "the world's oldest barefoot waterskier.  He's 97 now.  When he was 92, he set the world record for the oldest person to waterski barefoot."    Banana George didn't even begin waterskiing until he was 40.  But it soon became his passion.  So much so that he began doing shows at Cypress Gardens-- hopping jumps and riding with women on his shoulders.  In the course of his career, he's broken his back 4 times.  He's also broken his ankle, knee, and eleven ribs.  Banana George waterskied until the last possible moment.  I've seen footage of a very old George being pulled through the water in a wheelchair-on-skis, smiling like a madman.  Here you can see a short video I found of Banana George skiing on his 90th birthday:  http://bit.ly/ri0bD3  Banana George is a testament to loving life, and he deserves to be celebrated.  I discovered that his family set up a fan page for him.  It only has 835 people so far.  Let's show George how much we love his spirit, and join his fan group: http://on.fb.me/P0f087  If you think Banana George deserves to be known, please SHARE this story.  And in the words of Banana George: "Don't wait for the next thing, make the next thing happen!"

Photo and story from the Humans of New York Facebook page:

I stumbled upon a National Treasure yesterday.

I was walking down 3rd Avenue when I noticed an old man in a wheelchair. He was being pushed by a caretaker. Despite his physical condition, he had dressed with extreme care. He wore an outlandish yellow outfit. Everything about him was yellow, from his shades to his socks. Intrigued by his appearance, I bent down and asked for a photograph. He silently nodded approval.

After I’d taken his photograph, his caretaker offered a formal introduction: “This is Banana George,” she said, “the world’s oldest barefoot waterskier. He’s 97 now. When he was 92, he set the world record for the oldest person to waterski barefoot.”

Banana George didn’t even begin waterskiing until he was 40. But it soon became his passion. So much so that he began doing shows at Cypress Gardens– hopping jumps and riding with women on his shoulders. In the course of his career, he’s broken his back 4 times. He’s also broken his ankle, knee, and eleven ribs. Banana George waterskied until the last possible moment. I’ve seen footage of a very old George being pulled through the water in a wheelchair-on-skis, smiling like a madman.

Here you can see a short video I found of Banana George skiing on his 90th birthday: http://bit.ly/ri0bD3

Banana George is a testament to loving life, and he deserves to be celebrated. I discovered that his family set up a fan page for him. It only has 835 people so far. Let’s show George how much we love his spirit, and join his fan group: http://on.fb.me/P0f087

If you think Banana George deserves to be known, please SHARE this story. And in the words of Banana George: “Don’t wait for the next thing, make the next thing happen!”

As of today, Banana George now has nearly 9,000 fans. What a great way to honor an amazing man!

More on Banana George:

Banana George Official Website

The Banana Man

Banana George on the water at 85

Banana Battles Back

Written by: Karen Putz

Banana George Blair “The Banana Man”

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

George Blair otherwise know as “Banana George” has been around longer than most people dream of. He was a successful business man from New York in his early years. As he approached his forties, his lower back began to give him pain. He visited the doctor’s office and the doctor suggested he try water skiing for exercise in hopes to loosen it up. George decided to do just that and began skiing in a local water ski club.

He was famous for using a wooden disk to ski on. He would bring a step ladder out with him while balancing on the disk. He then slowly set the ladder up and began climbing as he was pulled behind the boat. The crowd watched in excitement as he got close to the top, sat down and began to un-peel a banana. This was the story he told me personally and now you know how he came to be known as “Banana George.”

I first met the “Man in Yellow” at my first barefoot water ski National tournament in Piqua, Ohio. He was more than friendly as he threw bananas into the bleachers. My dad made me sit down with Banana George as he signed my hat, and I thank my dad for the great memory he captured! I was ten years old, which made George 73 years old at the time.

The Banana man came to our regional championship and I was able to get another autograph and a few bananas out of the back of his trunk. I told George many years later, “I get called ‘St. Orange’ quite often– and I may start handing out oranges soon!” He laughed. That’s one thing I love about him, when he laughs it goes on forever…you can feel it go right to your bones and automatically begin laughing with him.

I began to see George ever year since then and was lucky enough to have him award me the 2006 Banana George Blair Barefoot Waterskier of the Year.

As time went by, we became good friends and went skiing a few times with one another. I had dinner with Banana, his wife, JoAnn and Kuno as I was awarded the IWSF Male Athlete of the Year award.

George also donated one of his bright yellow barefoot suits to the World Barefoot Center! Thank you, George, from the WBC Gang!

Interviewing George on his 90th Birthday

2007 with Banana giving the OK symbol

George is the only man that has barefoot water skied on every continent, was the founder of the “Bike” cup and has the largest privately owned collection of Mercury (God) in the world. Those are just a few fun facts about the Banana man.

His birthday is coming up in January and he will be 97 years old. I wish him all the best and thank him for a great friendship! We love you George & JoAnn!
By: Keith St.Onge / Orange