Caleb Wilson caught the wave and grinned as he rode it, throwing up a “shaka” sign in celebration.
Mr. Irrelevant had never surfed before, but the last pick in the NFL Draft proved to be a quick learner Saturday morning at 30th Street beach in Newport Beach.
Wilson, a tight end out of UCLA who the Arizona Cardinals made the 254th and final pick, caught a wave on his fourth try. Even when he fell off on his previous attempts, he seemed eager to get right back on his board and get it right.
There’s a reason why Wilson is on the cusp of being a professional football player.
“I wanted to do it,” Wilson said. “I kind of asked how Mr. Irrelevants before me had done, and they said normally it takes like six or seven tries I was like, ‘I have to get up before they did.’ I think I got up on the fourth try. It was really just technique and trying to get balance. It’s something different, but I enjoyed it. I’d do it again, for sure.”
Wilson’s surfing instructor for the day, Johnny Brewer of Huntington Beach, has the nickname of “Surfing Jesus.” Brewer teaches for Toes on the Nose and said he was impressed with Wilson’s prowess.
“He’s a natural athlete,” Brewer said. “The thing with surfing, the bigger you are, you need to stay low. A low center of gravity, that’s surfing for you. But yeah, he’s a tall guy, and he did well. He got up. That was his first time surfing and he got up, so that’s impressive. Not everybody stands up on their first time.”
The surfing, which was followed by a barbecue lunch with kids from local youth program Save Our Youth (SOY) was part of a busy Saturday for Wilson. He started early with a spin class at GritCycle in Costa Mesa.
“I liked the energy,” Wilson said. “Spin class was actually fun. I really feel like I would do spin class on my own if I had the offseason time.”
Wilson got an afternoon nap, which was necessary. He would embark on a Duffy boat cruise later Saturday afternoon with friends and family around Newport harbor.
“I needed that [nap],” Wilson said. “Today is long. I mean, it’s awesome. I have a great group of people with me, so it’s fun.”
Wilson rode in a boat that included three of his former UCLA teammates, defensive end Josh Woods and linebackers Krys Barnes and Lokeni Toailoa.
The first stop was Louie’s by the Bay. The décor on the patio amused Wilson, as it was full of USC decorations. That wasn’t totally irrelevant, as Mr. Irrelevant did spend a year at USC before transferring to UCLA.
Wilson then went to the Elks Lodge, where the group assembled in a back room. A pool table drew the interest of many there, including Wilson’s father Chris. Chris Wilson challenged Barnes to a game. The elder Wilson was winning, until he scratched trying to shoot the 8 ball into the corner pocket.
Caleb Wilson had more stops along the way later Saturday night, as he was headed to the Cannery and Mularky’s. At the latter location, Wilson was set to be a guest bartender.
More events are on the slate for Sunday for Mr. Irrelevant. He will be a guest at Mariners Church in Irvine in the morning, and he will attend the Los Angeles Angels baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in the afternoon.
Wilson will throw out the last pitch when the game is completed. That may be irrelevant, but what is relevant is the appreciation that Wilson has for Irrelevant Week.
“People can talk about, ‘Hey it’s a long week,’ or that I’m salty about being Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick,” he said. “But I just take it all in. So many people’s names weren’t fortunate to even be called on draft day, regardless of the pick. I mean, I feel like 254 is more relevant than 253. More people know about Mr. Irrelevant than the pick before. So, I’m fortunate. My family is out here from Texas, and we’re staying at a nice resort.
“It’s been awesome. I can’t really complain. A lot of USC fans, but that is what it is.”
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