How to Surf in Pokemon Sword and Shield

Cross bodies of water by learning the game's alternative to Surf.

Unlike other Pokemon games where you’re able to teach a Pokemon how to Surf, crossing bodies of water requires an upgrade to your Bicycle in Pokemon Sword and Shield. With that Bicycle upgrade, you’re free to cross watery areas whenever the need arises. Confused? We’ve got you covered! Below, we’ll walk you through the best way to “Surf” in Pokemon Sword and Shield!

How to Surf in Pokemon Sword and Shield

How to Surf in Pokemon Sword and Shield
Upgrade your Bicycle to "Surf" across bodies of water in Pokemon Sword and Shield.
© Game Freak
  • To "Surf" across water in Pokemon Sword and Shield, you'll need to upgrade your Bicycle.
  • The "Surf" upgrade for your Bicycle is given to you after you've earned your 6th badge and save an NPC from Team Yell along Route 9.

As we mentioned in the intro, Pokemon Sword and Shield works differently than other Pokemon games when it comes to crossing bodies of water. Rather than teach a Pokemon like Lapras how to Surf, you’ll need to get a Bicycle and upgrade it if you want to travel over water in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

If you haven’t grabbed your Bicycle yet, we have a handy guide that will walk you through the process. The short version is that you earn the Bicycle as a reward after saving a man from Team Yell along Route 5. With the Bicycle, you can increase your movement speed as you travel between towns. Later on in the game, you can upgrade your Bicycle to do other things for you, like mimic how “Surf” works.

To upgrade your Bicycle to travel over water, you’ll need to progress through Pokemon Sword and Shield until you’ve earned your 6th badge in Circhester. After that, head down Route 9 towards Circhester Bay. There, you’ll encounter a similar situation to when you first received your Bicycle on Route 5. Again, you’ll need to save an NPC from Team Yell.

After that, the NPC will reward you with your first Bicycle upgrade. With this upgrade, your Bicycle will mimic “Surf” and allow you to cross bodies of water. To use your Bicycle to Surf, simply hop on by pressing + or - on your Joy-Cons. Then, approach the body of water you want to cross. When you reach the water, the Bicycle should automatically transform and begin gliding along the surface.

If you see a Water-type Pokemon like Gyarados swimming around, you can battle and/or catch them by bumping into them while on your Bicycle (the same way you engage with Pokemon on land).

Now that you know how to Surf with your Bicycle in Pokemon Sword and Shield, be sure to read through some of our other helpful guides including where to find the Nursery in Pokemon Sword and Shield, how to skip cutscenes in Pokemon Sword and Shield, and how to create a custom League Card in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Morgan is a writer, indie game lover, and socially awkward coffee addict. Need something? Morgan can be reached at morgan.shaver@allgamers.com or if you like, you can say hello using GIFs on Twitter.

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