You get HM03 Surf from a well-dressed man with a top hat inside the Ecruteak City Dance Theater. He gives you the HM as a reward after you defeat all 5 of the Kimono Girls.
You’ll find the kimono-clad trainers on stage at the back of the Dance Theater. Defeat all of them (and their Eeveelutions) before returning to the gentleman to get Surf.
You can do all of this immediately after arriving in Ecruteak City.
HM03 Surf Location (Step-by-Step)
Step 1: Go into the Dance Theater at Ecruteak City. It’s located north of the Pokémon Center and west of the PokéMart.
Step 2: Head to the back of the room to find the Kimono Girls.
Step 3: Defeat all five Kimono Girls in battle.
Each of them brings a different Level 17 Eeveelution to battle, but none of them should be overly challenging.
From left to right, their teams are:
These Pokémon have powerful moves with STAB bonuses, but there is strength in numbers. Each Kimono Girl only has one Pokémon, so you shouldn’t have trouble with a whole party of critters.
Tip: Remember that you can go to the Pokémon Center and heal between battles. This isn’t the Elite IV!
Step 4: After you defeat all of them in battle, talk to the well-dressed gentleman watching the show and he’ll give you HM03 Surf.
HM03 Surf Details + Uses
|Surf Move Details|
Teaching Surf to a Pokémon allows you to freely traverse bodies of water, which you’ll need to do in order to access Cianwood City and other areas in the game.
But you must defeat Gym Leader Morty in Ecruteak City before you can use Surf outside of battle.
Surf is also the most potent Water-type move after Hydro Pump (120), and it’s arguably better due to the higher base accuracy and PP.
This makes Surf a safe bet to teach to any Water-type Pokémon like Totodile and its evolutions.
Tip: You can visit the Move Deleter in Blackthorn City if you ever want to remove a Hidden Machine move like Surf from a Pokémon’s movelist.
Here are some Pokémon available by the mid-game that you could teach Surf to:
|Poliwag||Water||Routes 30, 31. Fish at Violet City|
|Slowpoke||Water / Psychic||Slowpoke Well|
|Krabby||Water||Fishing at Cherrygrove City, Olivine City, Union Cave|