"I can't start at my age!" said Blair.
Since then he has competed in 11 barefoot nationals, winning medals in his age group every time. From 1984 through '86 and 1988 through '91 he won his age division for barefoot jumping. In 1985 he flew 34 feet off an 18-inch ramp, a record that stood until 1990.
Which is not to say Blair always lands on his feet. He has broken eight ribs and his left ankle. And, of course, there was the back injury in '87. "I was flying through the air like Mercury when I thought, Oh, my god, I bumped the ramp!" he says. Then he thought, "Oh, my god, I'm upside down!" And then, "Oh, my god, I can't move!"
It took all the king's horses and all the king's men to put Banana George together again. At the hospital he was encased in a body brace. Doctors told him he would be out of action for at least a year, perhaps permanently. But less than three months later he was barefooting for the cameras of the Spectacular World of Guinness Records TV show, for being the only human to have water-skied—with or without skis—on or off all seven continents. He notched number 7 six years ago by barefooting in the 28� waters of Whalers Bay, Antarctica. Blair produces a photocopy of the captain's log, on yellow paper, no less: "Today, we met our first iceberg, saw our first humpback whale...and Mr. George Blair performed his barefoot waterskiing along the beach."
Here is a snapshot that shows him barefooting down the Volga River in Russia, where the local citizenry called him Mr. Banana. And there he is on the Amazon, the Nile and Bombay's Back Bay, a fetid body of water that, he says, stank like a septic tank. After bombing around the bay a few times, he let go of the towline and barefooted back to shore. A large crowd converged on him. "Everybody wanted to touch me," he recalls. "It was as if they had seen Christ walking on water."
About the only place Banana George hasn't barefooted is the Bermuda Triangle. He would like to, but he's yellow.