You just have to know when to use Surf and how to get around or absorb the backlash of it. I run a rain doubles team so first thing I had to learn was to get around the self-inflicted damage. Oftentimes it's a non-issue because your opponent will have pokemon out that there's better moves to be used than Surf. It's a situational thing. Wiff that said, I battle singles, doubles and triples. Rotational is too random for me.
Singles - standard is standard which I don't bother with but with interesting banlists and rules worked around, it can be interesting.
Doubles - VGC! VGC! VGC!
Triples - Only in PWT but it is fun.