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For me, Gen 3 didn't have a memorable region or memorable gym battles. At the time, team Magma & Aqua were pretty interesting, but later games topped them. The region is my least favorite out of all the them, probably because I don't like all of the water routes.
Plus, Wallace is a terrible champion. Steven wasn't much better when you compare him to other champions
I don't even dislike gen 3, but that's a really inadequate response to the surfing concern. A lot of people don't like to use repels because it cheats them out of XP. The only time I've ever used them was when I was hunting for roaming legendaries. Otherwise, you're basically paying money not to level up.
My NIDOKING brings all the boys to the yard: http://goo.gl/ExAoe