Pokemon has always been a fairly linear game, and chances are that if you’ve been playing Pokemon Scarlet or Violet, you’ve come across an obstacle or two that you can’t overcome without hitting a certain point in the story.

The open-world style of this particular entry into the Pokemon franchise makes it a little confusing to navigate these obstacles.

One of the most frequent obstacles that you’ll come across while exploring the world is bodies of water, like rivers and lakes. It’s possible to cross over these, which is what we’ll be taking a look at in this guide today.

Here’s how to surf on water in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet.

What is Surf?

Seasoned Pokemon players will know Surf as a HM (hidden machine) that teaches Pokemon the ability to cross the water. In typical Pokemon games with this HM, you can ride on your Pokemon that has Surf and cross bodies of water.

In Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, it is a bit different because there isn’t a Surf HM. Instead, surfing is an ability that you’ll unlock as you go through the game.

Koraidon and Miraidon are the Pokemon mounts in the Scarlet and Violet respectively. You can use them to traverse the Paldea region, and they’re the Pokemon that will be able to surf on water once you unlock the ability.

When Do You Unlock Surf?

To unlock Surf or the ability to cross the water, you need to beat the Open Sky Titan, Bombirdier. If you follow the correct progression path for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, fighting Bombirdier, the Open Sky Titan should be your 4th objective.

You should have beaten Gym Leader Katy, Klawf (the Stony Cliff Titan), and Gym Leader Brassius.

Technically, you don’t have to follow the path, but you will experience level gaps if you go too far off the standard path.

Once you beat the Open Sky Titan, you will get a cutscene with Arven. You will receive a call on your Rotom phone telling you that you have unlocked the ability to cross the water.

What Should You Do After Unlocking Surf?

Since the map will open up a bit because you can now cross bodies of water, you can finally access most of the Northern regions of the map.

However, you should be careful not to go past areas that are too high-level. It’s worth looking at ways to level up your team quickly so high-level Pokemon or trainers don’t catch you out on your travels.

After unlocking Surf, you can go to the nearest objective from your battle with the Open Sky Titan.

You will meet Giacomo and battle him, but you don’t need to use Surf to get there.

After Giacomo, you can go to the Eastern region just to the north of Gym Leader Brassius. This should be your next stage in progressing through the story, and you will need to use Surf to access the next two objectives here easily.

Can You Unlock Surf Early?

Yes, most of the story progression in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is not linear. You can skip Klawf (the Stony Cliff Titan) and Brassius and move all the way to fight Bombirdier.

However, you might find yourself struggling with the Bombirdier fight.

I would suggest aiming to have Pokemon that are roughly level 18-23 before trying the fight. Make sure that your team has plenty of variety and look up the types and weaknesses in the game so that you can gain an edge over Bombirdier.