Posts Tagged ‘Joann Blair’

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