Kelley L. Cox / USA TODAY Sports

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes's family won't be traveling to Australia, but they trained him well

BERKELEY -- California departs on Saturday night on a 15.5-hour flight to Sydney, Australia, and while the trip to play Hawaii has its challenges, for soon-to-be third-time father Sonny Dykes, the benefits are incalculable.

Message Boards: Final Open Practice Live Thread (members)

Fall Camp Central

BERKELEY -- in November of 2014, California head coach Sonny Dykes received an odd gift from his daughters for his birthday -- a longboard skateboard. He zipped around the football offices like an expert. It turns out, he had some experience.

"That was in hopes of fine-tuning me into surfing," Dykes said on Friday, at Cal's Sydney Sendoff media junket.

Dykes's wife, Kate, and their two daughters -- Charlie and Ally -- won't be making the trip on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. aboard the Virgin Australia 777 when the Bears head out to Australia to face Hawaii at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 26 at noon (the game will be broadcast live on Aug. 26, 7 p.m., on the West Coast). Kate is expecting the couple's first son in October, so flying is out of the question, especially a flight that will take 15 and a half hours. But, Dykes's family will be with him in spirit.

"At some point, I'll end up with a surfboard in the water," said Dykes, who, at noon, local time, on Thursday, will be presented with a surfboard at a ceremony on Bondi Beach, the site of the 2000 Olympic beach volleyball competition. "We'll see what happens. I'm hoping there will be an opportunity to do that at some point during the week." The native Texan has gotten plenty of wave riding in over the years, though, he noted, not in Australia.

"Long board," Dykes said. "I've been to Hawaii many times. I've been to Santa Cruz here. I've been a couple places in the Bay Area. I like to do it every so often."

Communication will be one of the challenges faced by Dykes and the team, given the time difference and the International Date Line. Because of the length of the flight, Sunday will essentially disappear for the Bears.

“Yeah, that’s weird," Dykes said. "That’s really weird. That’s been the one thing that, when you start trying to figure it out, I was talking to my wife about, ‘When am I going to talk to you, at all?’ We were trying to figure out the hours and that type of thing. That got too hard to even wrap my brain around."

READ MORE: Dykes, Jake Spavital, Mike Williams, Davis Webb, Chad Hansen and Chris Borrayo talk Australia (members)

Other difficulties? Traveling all the gear. 

"Normally, if you show up, and you have a game in L.A., and something happens and somebody forgets their helmet, you reach out to a helmet manufacturer and you have a helmet there," Dykes said. "There's not a whole lot of football helmet manufacturers in Australia, so there's just a lot of logistical things that have to happen, whether it's cleats, whether it's football pads, whether it's helmets, or any of the things that we're accustomed to having access to. We're not going to have them, once we get to Sydney."

Another wrinkle? Keeping the players active and hydrated, and managing sleep after a final double day on Saturday.

"Any time that you’re on a long flight like that, hydration becomes an issue," Dykes said. "You’ve got that re-circulated air, so that’s going to be something that we’re going to spend a lot of time making sure the guys are drinking what they need to drink. We have compression pants, as well, that we’ve talked to a lot of different people, that help us bounce back a lot more quickly after the flight. We’re going to use every tool that’s at our disposal to make sure the guys are fresh when we get there.” Dykes is "not great" with sleeping on planes (his quarterback, Davis Webb, "can sleep anywhere") but given that 60 of the 330 seats on the plane will be empty, there should be plenty of elbow room, especially for the linemen, who will travel in business class. The business class bar, though, will be stocked with water and Gatorade. No booze.

"The bigger guys, we're going to let them spread out a little bit," Dykes said. "The linemen will have business class, and I think they’ve got some pod sleeping things where they can make it out into almost a bed, so it’ll be good for them. That’s the big thing, is just making sure everybody’s comfortable.”

Starting left guard Chris Borrayo is "not even worried" about what seats he's going to get. He's just excited that he gets to live his father's dream, if only for a week.

0 0 1 43 247 GorceyCo, LLC 2 1 289 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE

“Personally, it’s something on my bucket list, traveling to different continents, going to Australia," he said. "It’s funny, because my dad told me stories about growing up. He thought he was going to go there to Australia and live his life, so it’s interesting I get to go there and play football.”

Offensive tackle Steven Moore won't be dipping his toes in the water. He's too afraid of sharks. Running back Billy McCrary III isn't too fond of flying -- ever since flying through a storm in a "puddle jumper" to his family's ranch in Vermont as a child -- but he'll have linebacker Derron Brown as his seat buddy. Wide receiver Demetris Robertson -- like Dykes -- is not too fond of heights, but, like Dykes, he told BearTerritory, he wants to face his fear when the Bears climb Sydney Harbor Bridge on Wednesday evening.

"They say it’s really something to do, and I’m not a huge fan of heights, but I’m looking forward to kind of trying to work through that and enjoy the experience," Dykes said. Robertson will be paying a lot of attention during the team's sightseeing activities, particularly as it pertains to architecture, in which Robertson became interested during his freshman year of high school.

"It's crazy," Robertson laughed. "I'll be paying attention to everything, and I'll probably look down. I've got to look down. I've got to face my fear a little bit. I've never really done anything like that before. It'll be a unique experience."

Robertson will also get to see the Sydney Opera House, as the Bears have a harbor boat tour scheduled for Tuesday evening.

For Robertson, who, until his first visit out to California last fall, had never been farther from his Georgia home than Texas, the trip comes as an opportunity to expand his horizons. Of the 105 players who will be traveling, 85 did not have passports. Getting that taken care of, Dykes said, was "a nightmare," but one well worth the trouble.

"The experience itself is something that you can’t put a value on," Dykes said. "When you have an opportunity, as an 18-year old, to go to a different continent, see a completely different culture, explore someplace you may never have an opportunity to explore, the impact that can have on your life, and the value of that, you can’t really determine that." 

null Top Stories