In this Free Flow paddle board review, we’ll be testing out this budget SUP brand and comparing it to other budget and premium SUPs as a point of comparison
We have done on-water performance tests, set up, and taken down the Free Flow. Is it a good board for beginners? Is it stable? How long does the Free Flow paddle board take to pump up? Are the accessories useful?
After spending a few hours testing out my friend’s Free Flow all of these questions and more are answered below.
Serenelife Free Flow Paddle Board Ratings
Below are ratings we feel are important when judging any SUP. We take the average of the bolded 5 categores and get a final rating.
Total Score: 6.5/10 (Average of Below)
- On-Water Performance: 7
- Stability: 8
- Tracking: 7
- Speed: 6
- Maneuverability: 8
- SUP Construction: 6
- Board Features: 6
- Deck Pad: 6
- D Ring Placements: 6.5
- Deck Bungees: 7
- Handle: 5
- Accessories: 6
- Backpack: 5
- Paddle: 6
- Pump: 6
- Fins: 6
- Set-Up/ Take Down: 7
- Great price to perfomace rating
- Lots of positive reviews
- Surprisingly stable when I tested it
- Maneuvers well
- Good tracking for a board of its budget
- Decent board for SUP Yoga
- Uses FCS standard fins
- Comes with an ample amount of accessories
- Lots of colors and designs to choose from
- Board is tough to get back in the bag
- Paddle is heavy and a bit flimsy
- SIngle pump that comes with this board is just okay
- Speed is hindered by the board profile
- Construction not as good as other SUPs
Who Should be Using the Serenelife Free Flow Paddle Board?
The Serenelife Free Flow inflatable SUP Board is best used as a starter SUP to get you into the world of paddle boarding. Its stable platform allows you to have an easier time standing on it than many other budget brands out there.
It’s also a pretty good pick to use as a spare board for anyone who wants to bring their friends along to go paddle boarding as well.
Who is the Serenelife Free Flow SUP not for?
People who are experienced with paddle boards or want some quality on-water performance will be left disappointed. While the SUP’s stability is pretty impressive for a board of its size, shape, and stature. You will be left disappointed if you were planning to go on a long-distance touring excursion with it.
What SUP Activities Can the Serenelife Free Flow Paddle Board be Used For?
The Free Flow SUP can be used for a few different activities.
Most of the people who get this board will be using it as a vessel to paddle around the lake. It can be used in coastal conditions as well but you should make sure that the water is calm. This is because its rounded nose pontoons the water which makes it a slower board compared to one with a slightly pointer nose and rocker profile.
This board should be able to last a few summers as I even came across one person saying that their Serenelife board has lasted them 5 seasons so far.
This budget paddle board can actually make a pretty good yoga SUP! When you stand, it feels like you are on a mini platform.
This board would be more ideal for poses where you are standing. This is due to the smaller area that the deck pad covers. Poses like downward dog could get a bit interesting if the deck is wet and your try to grip outside the deckpad.
The only things I wasn’t a big fan of was the fact that the deck pad area is relatively small. If you look at our Best SUP Yoga page you will notice that a lot of commonalities with the top picks are that their deckpads cover a wider area.
Serenelife Free Flow Paddle Board Specifications Deconstructed
- Length: 10.6’
- Width: 32”
- Thickness: 6’’
- Materials: SInge Layer PVC
- Maximum Capacity: 275+ lbs.
- Weight: 19.6 lbs
Truthfully Serenlife does not give you a very accurate display of their stats as often you have to decipher between the Amazon specs vs the specs on the Serenelife website. They also do not give you the volume or the materials of the board. But because it’s a budget brand we can assume it is made of single-layer PVC.
Boards that have more complex layering systems like fusion or triple-layered PVC typically cost more and will last longer.Editors Note
One thing to keep in mind is that some of their product descriptions also try to oversell the product sometimes. Telling people that their budget board has “superior maneuverability” is a bit overkill.
Serenelife Free Flow Board Profile
The Free Flow inflatable SUP is designed to be as stable as possible for beginners. The board’s flat shape helps plant into the water. So if you don’t have your water legs with you just yet this may be a good board to start out on.
What I found paddling this board is that it works fairly well at cruising speeds but as you start to pick up speed the nose drags the board because it is aquaplaning. You can even see this at the front of the board in my below on-water performance video.
Its weight capacity is 275-300 lbs which are fair for a budget board. I do also like how the model that I got to test the front of the board features 3 rows of bungee deck lacing. This is great if you have some gear like dry bags/ spare clothes to bring with you but it does shorten the deck by quite a bit.
Whats on Deck
While the Free Flow paddle board is not particularly “feature-rich” it does give you all the basics that you would need from an inflatable SUP.
Serenelife Free Flow Deckpad
The Serenelife Free Flow has a few design variations when it comes to deck pads. Some are round, others are oddly shaped. But in this review, we will mostly speak of the one I tested.
One of the things that are “you get what you paid for” is the thickness of the deck pad. Compared to the other boards I had tested, Serenelife has the thinnest padding. Paddling longer distances on this board does take a toll on your feet as they start to get numb. So keep that in mind if you are planning to paddle all day.
Its shape is also a bit peculiar. It feels like Serenelife was going more for looks as opposed to usefulness with their deck pad. As a result, you are more limited to staying on the ⅓ portion of the paddle board while other SUP manufacturers like iRocker would take up at least ⅔’s of the board with the deck pad. This will ultimately come down to personal preference
Serenelife Free Flow D-Rings
The Freeflow has a total of 10 D rings with 6 of them being used for the deck bungees. This gives you 4 D rings that surround the deckpad. This leads to room for a bit more customization for your board as you can add things like kayak seats and coolers that you can find on Amazon.
If you compare this to the Free Flows direct competitor ROC, they don’t have D rings to spare on their paddleboard. So for customization Serenelife gets the nod here.
Free Flow SUP Handle
The Free Flow paddle board has one nylon handle in the middle of the board. If I’m honest it’s nothing to write home about. The thing with nylon handles is that they begin to hurt your hands after walking more than a few hundred feet to the shore.
In this case it would have been nice if they added a neoprene cover or even added a handle or two at the front or rear of the board to help with carrying purposes.
Serenelife Free Flow Deck Bungees
The Free Flow offers ample bungee storage for a budget SUP board. It featured 3 rows of bungee deck lacing that can carry bigger objects like soft coolers and backpacks. This is especially handy when you are doing a day paddle and you need to hold things.
Compare this to the Tower Yachtsman where they have NO Deck bungees. This makes balancing water bottles nearly impossible as they will just fall overboard.
Serenelife Free Flow Accessories Explained
One of the biggest differences you will notice between boards that go into the $700 range and ones that go in the $300- 400 range are the quality accessories available. While the accessories did for the most part do their job. I felt this was one category where Serenelife could have done better with.
Let’s not get you wrong here, this package includes everything you need to get you started and into the water. But after a while, you may find yourself upgrading your bag, pump, and paddle as you paddle board more often.
Serenelife Free Flow Bag
Okay, I’ll get this out of the way now. I found this package very frustrating to pack back into the bag. The board needs to be folded very tightly and placed in there a certain way for the paddles and pump to fit. If you actually watch closely to the set-up video at the end you can actually see I cut myself trying to put the board back into the bag! 🙁
The bag is made of nylon material which is good enough to some degree of durability. But it’s stubborn when you are trying to fit everything back into the bag!
Carrying the bag like a backpack is also a pain. This is because the bag does not have any padding on the straps. So when you have the 20-pound board plus paddle in the bag, it tends to dig into your shoulders.
If you plan to go hiking, scrap this bag, and buy a more comfortable bag that you can put on your shoulders. So far the NIXY bag has been my favorite SUP bag so far.
The paddle is nice enough to look at and does the job fairly well. But it is heavier because the shaft is made of aluminum and clunkier materials. I found you could get enough power out of it per stroke but I would not want to be paddling for more than an hour or two with it.
One thing that I was a bit disappointed in was that the handle was starting to loosen up. This is too bad because the board I tested was probably only used 6 or 7 times. That amount of use should not create the handle to come loose.
The Serenelife Pump
If you’ve been around this blog for a bit you will notice that anytime I mention a manual pump some disdain usually follows. Well, double the disdain with single pumps! They take a bit longer compared to triple action pumps. Oftentimes it feels like you are pumping for eternity.
The pump is pretty standard with what you get from most Amazon/ big box retailer boards. So if you are going to be using this board more than just a handful of times, do yourself and your back a favor and get an electric pump from the start. I just bought myself the Outdoor Master Shark II pump. I will be doing a video on that as well.
This was one of the areas where I was actually pleasantly surprised! The side fins are pretty standard for most budget boards where they are small and glued on there.
The center fin to my surprise was not a plastic slide in! Infact it is an FCS universal fin and it had a cool little design on it to boot! The FCS compatibility allows you to be able to swap the board with different fins which give you a bit of basis for fin experimentation.
This may be a bit overkill for a budget board but I really appreciated that Serenelife did this! The tracking ability of the board was actually pretty decent as well! More on this below.
The Free Flow paddle board comes with a coiled leash. The padding portion on the ankle is a bit less than other paddleboards but I didn’t mind it at all.
Free Flow Paddle Board On-Water Performance
Overall the Free Flow is a great starter board for those who are just learning to paddle board and get on the board for the first time.
The Free Flow’s stability was by far its best feature followed by tracking and maneuverability.
The biggest noticeable difference between Serenelife and other boards I tested was speed. More on this below.
Serenelife actually pleasantly surprised me when it came to the stability of the board. It felt like you were standing on a firm platform with very little play. Which is a good thing for newbies (it’s ok we’ve all been there).
When I tested the board I was expecting it to be wobbly and was too quick to judge it before trying it. Out of the Serenelife comparables, I actually found this board was much more stable than the Tower Yachtsman (Adventure 2) which is $140 more.
My friend who originally bought the board seemed to have no problems standing up the first time and seemed pretty comfortable and confident paddling while standing. A few of her friends who had limited experience paddle boarding also thought it was really stable as well.Editors Note
So if stability and budget are your main concerns this is probably the board for you.
For a board that has more of an oval shape and plastic supporting fins I actually thought the board tracked fairly well.
For comparison’s sake it does not track as well as the Nixy Newport, or iRocker All Around 11. Although it’s a bit of an unfair comparison as those boards are more expensive and their supporting fins are longer and detachable.
But interestingly enough the Free Flow was at about the same level as the Tower board I tested.
A note for Newbies: Don’t forget to install your middle fin onto the board! This will greatly help with its tracking. If you forget to put it on your board handles completely different and is much more difficult to paddle straight.
This is where the board lost a few points in its on-water performance rating. The main obstacle to the speed of this board is the fact that the rocker on this board is less prominent compared to boards like the Tower Yachtsman.
As a result when you are paddling the rounded nose plows through the water. This creates extra drag that will slow the board down.
Having said the above, the board is not an absolute dog to paddle. Design-wise when things like stability are your main aim, oftentimes you have to subtract some elements of the design that hinder speed.
The board’s shorter 10.6’ frame helps give it more maneuverability. The side fins also don’t stick out as much which helps with the turning of the board.
When I was trying out sweep strokes the board felt mostly stable throughout each stroke I did. In comparison when I tried this with the Tower Yachtsman I almost fell into the water doing the same maneuver. Which you can see in this video here.
Serenelife Free Flow Paddle Board Set Up/ Take Down
The Free Flow is pretty easy to set-up. Take the contents out of the bag, unroll the board and pump it up. With this board, I would recommend spending the extra $100 or so dollars on an electric pump. Especially if you are planning to paddle more than a handful of times this summer.
The pump that comes with the Serenelife is a single chamber double pump (which means it has one cylinder that fills the board in an up and down stroking motion). So compared to boards that are a level up like the Nixy Newport and the iRocker All-Around 11 the extra fill-up time can be annoying, to say the least.
The fin installation is pretty straightforward as well as we show in the above video.
Where things get a bit more complicated is the takedown. Deflating the board is simple enough but fitting it all back into the bag is a real pain!
You have to compact the board small enough and fit it in a certain way for the original accessories to fit. I get that Serenelife is trying to make their package more compact but they should add more room in the bag to put stuff in.
If you look closely enough in the video towards the end I actually cut myself! 🙁
About Serenelife Company
The Serenelife brand makes a variety of different household and outdoor appliances that can be found on big online retailers and big-box stores. Below we will be looking into their warranty and customer satisfaction ratings.
Serenelife Returns and Warranty Information
I had to do a bit of digging around when it came to this but Serenelife features a 1-year warranty on its paddle boards. For a budget board, this is in line with what other manufacturers offer. For sake of comparison, other more specialized SUP companies like Tower, iRocker and Nixy offer 2 – 3 year warranties.
The return period is 30 days although most of these products are bought through Amazon or other big-box retailers. So the return policy automatically goes to their terms.
What Customer think
When looking at a budget board on Amazon, one of the first things I look at is the customer reviews that review between 2-4 stars. These reviews are usually a lot more detailed and truthful. While 5 and 1 star ratings oftentimes are customers who are either very happy and leave a brief review, or very angry at a product defect and out of anger just leave a bad review.
Lots of beginners really liked the board’s stability on the water and were impressed with the board’s rigidity. One customer even went on to say that out of the 3 inflatable SUPs they owned, the Free Flow was their favorite.
Some of the main complaints were that the board took a while to set up with one physically fit woman saying that it took her 15 minutes to pump up the board. Others have mentioned that the gauge to the pump has broken or malfunctioned.
There were also multiple reports of the backpack being uncomfortable to wear for more than a few minutes.
Overall most of the complaints were directed at the accessories that came with the board and not so much the board itself.
Where to Buy the Serenelife Free Flow Paddle Board
The main place to purchase the Serenelife Free Flow inflatable paddle board is from Amazon. This is where a good portion of Serenelife’s paddle boards are sold from.
You can also order from the Serenelife website although there have been complaints of dealing with customer service on the BBB website. Not all of them are directed at the paddle boards though.
Comparable Paddle Boards
Serenelife is not the only budget SUP manufacturer around. Below are a few comparables within the Free Flow’s price range.
The Tower Yachtsman is about $140 more expensive than the Free Flow. To be honest they were very similar in many aspects with the Free Flow actually coming with more accessories. The Free Flow came with a bag and a SUP leash while the Yachtsman did not.
On-Water Performance wise the Yachtsman was faster on the water, tracked better but its stability was not as good as the Free Flow.
ROC Inflatable Paddle Board
One of the direct competitors of the Serenelife Free Flow paddle board. ROC can also be found on Amazon. They have a very similar rating and they are very similar boards with slight differences between them. A great comparison video I came across was done by Kamping Logik who has both boards and directly shows you how the boards compare against one another.
Should You Get The Serenelife Free Flow SUP?
If you are a beginner and want something that will be easier to stand on or if you are on a budget then their Free Flow is a great choice.
The Free Flow is even a decent pick for SUP yoga because of its longer width and stability.
If you are looking for something a bit more advanced and you are will to spend more for a board that performs better in the water take a look at our Best Inflatable Paddle Boards List.
Got a Free Flow Infatable SUP? Tell us what you think below!