The Freein inflatable SUP board is one of your best cheap paddle board options of 2023. At a glance, you may think it’s just another simple board. But it promises exceptional durability and stability.
In this Freein Explorer paddle board review, we analyze it and see whether it keeps its promises or not. It falls in the same price range as the iRocker Nautical—which is a very popular cheap SUP.
The price makes the Freein stand out, especially given some of its qualities. It also comes in two sizes, so paddlers have an option.
The company that makes this inflatable paddle board is not very well known. But when it comes to iSUPs, we have seen exceptional products from small companies and disappointing products from reputable ones. The business is owned and operated by paddlers. They aim to offer top-notch paddleboards at competitive prices. So far, they seem to be doing well.
Before we go further, take a quick look at the board’s pros, cons, and specs.
- All-inclusive SUP bundle
- Great qualities for a low price
- Free 20-liter dry bag in the package
- Stable board (even when tested at 220 lbs)
- 3-year warranty
- Aluminum paddle is heavy
- Low weight limit
Freein Board Specs
- Length: 11’/10’2
- Width: 33”
- Thick: 6”
- Weight: 23.5 lbs/22.2 lbs
- Weight capacity: 305 lbs/275 lbs
Who Should Buy The Freein Explorer SUP Board?
The Freein Explorer iSUP is great for beginners, people on a budget, and families.
Newbie SUPers usually want a board that is stable and cheap. And also one that is between 10 and 11 feet. The Freein boards fit in that range. They’re not tippy and you will easily learn how to stand. The fact that it includes all accessories makes it even more desirable to beginners. They may not know what to buy. With this iSUP bundle, all they need is a PFD and they’re good to go.
The Freein Explorer is arguably one of the best budget inflatable paddleboards. Every cheap iSUP claims to be high-quality. But they make sacrifices, especially when it comes to materials and construction. Freein SUP Company seems to have done a remarkable job with the construction (as you will see below).
This paddle board is suitable for families. Everyone will not be able to ride at the same time because of the weight limit. But an adult and a child or a dog can ride comfortably, as long as they don’t exceed 305 pounds. However, almost everyone can take turns because it is very stable and ideal for most SUP variations. And the paddle is adjustable.
Even cheap boards should have decent performance, right? So let’s see what the Freein has to offer.
If you are looking for a stable paddleboard, the Freein Explorer won’t let you down. This is one of its strengths and you can tell from the countless reviews. I, personally, found the Freein to be stable and a good choice if you’re a beginning paddle boarder.
To determine the stability of a SUP, check its width, thickness, and build quality.
Narrow paddleboards (less than 30 inches) are typically less stable. They are mainly ideal for pros. Anything from 31 inches is stable enough for most paddlers. At a width of 33 inches, the Freein is wider than most paddleboards. You don’t have to worry about a tippy paddling trip. You can even do yoga and other fitness routines.
The thickness of an inflatable affects its buoyancy and volume. You will notice that thinner boards will usually have a really low weight capacity. This is because a thicker board has a higher volume and, consequently, can handle more. Generally, always get an iSUP that is 6 inches thick—unless it is a child’s paddleboard. Thicker boards also float better as opposed to thinner ones. They don’t flex or sink as easily when a heavy person is riding. This sinking interferes with stability.
A paddleboard’s construction determines how stiff it will be once fully inflated. Cheap material will bend, especially in the middle, making it hard to maintain balance. This was one of the biggest issues with inflatable SUPs when they first became a thing. But most manufacturers, including Freein, are now using military-grade PVC and Dropstitch construction.
The Freein inflatable paddleboard is easy to control, for everyone including beginners and smaller/younger paddlers.
The joy of SUP is the actual paddling. Having your iSUP move properly in a certain direction or turn when you want it to is amazing. But if your paddleboard is not maneuverable, you’ll not have a very good experience.
The length of this inflatable is medium (10’2 and 11’) and just right for the average SUPer. Longer paddleboards are harder to control and very short ones tend to be slow.
Also read our Bluefin Cruise 10’8 Review
When paddling the Freein paddleboard, you will notice that it travels in a straight line—just as you’d like it to. This is what is referred to as tracking.
Almost every paddle board comes with a large center fin, as does the Freein. It minimizes drag and keeps the paddleboard on a straight path. The board also has a somewhat tapered nose that helps it keep the course.
Nobody expects an all-around to be as fast as a racing paddleboard. But you still expect the speed to be satisfactory—and the Freein won’t disappoint. The 10’2 iSUP may be insignificantly slower than the 11’ one because longer boards are typically faster.
If all you want is a leisure SUP and maybe some tours here and there, you will love the Freein. It may not be fast enough for serious paddlers but it sure does glide smoothly.
The Explorer is constructed using the toughest military-grade PVC and Dropstitch technology. It features several layers of material to make an extremely rigid paddleboard. Their 11200 stitches of 500D space yarn per square meter technique is impressive. It also has carbon fiber rails. And you wonder why they offer a three-year warranty.
According to the manufacturer, this 3D hollow structure that they use makes the Freein about 30% stiffer and 25% lighter than the average iSUP. For the price you are paying, this is a steal.
You can get the Freein in two colors; blue and light blue. The light blue one is grey on the bottom side. Some of its accessories are orange. The boards aren’t dull but they also don’t have over-the-top graphics.
The nose is slightly pointed while the tail is narrower. They have an action camera mount—which is nice.
The Explorer, like most inflatable paddleboards, features a tri-fin system. It has one large center fin and two smaller side fins.
The side fins are not removable but the large one is. It features a quick hook-release system, so you don’t need tools and won’t have to worry about losing screws.
b. Deck Pad
The Freein Explorer has a large anti-slip deck pad, providing you with plenty of room to paddleboard with a child, or with your dog. Freein says that the maximum weight capacity of the board is 305 pounds. So keep that in mind.
This paddle board comes with two handles, one at the center and another one at the tail. Other than carrying your board, the soft handle at the center helps you get on your SUP if you lose balance and fall. It also helps beginners know where the center of the paddleboard is.
The Freein Explorer has a total of 13 D-rings. Six of those have a bungee cord attached for storage at the front, one is at the tail for your leash and the rest are strategically arranged on the deck. You can use them to attach a SUP kayak seat.
SUP Board Accessories
The Explorer package includes a paddle, hand pump, leash, backpack, removable fin, dry bag, and repair kit. Depending on where you live, the only thing you may need in addition to the board is a personal flotation device.
The paddle is adjustable. It is made with aluminum and has a nylon blade, which is what you’d expect at this price point. The paddle will get you out on the water, but for more serious paddling you may want to upgrade to a fiberglass paddle. It is lighter and more comfortable for extended paddle sessions.
The included backpack is basic. There’s nothing fancy about it but it is tough and big. It will fit everything included in the package, including the paddleboard. It has a top handle, shoulder straps, and waist straps.
Every paddler knows that manual pumps are tiring. Thankfully, the Freein Double Action pump lightens your work. It is 50% easier to use than the average hand pump and works 100% faster.
The leash is 10 feet long and the drybag has a volume of 20 liters.
What Users Are Saying
The experience of other paddlers gives you a clear picture of what to expect.
Lilly had never used a paddleboard before. She got the Freein Explorer because of its width to help with stability. She says that it is perfect. It is light and the stability gave her confidence. She highly recommends it to every beginner.
Kendall has used her Freein Explorer in almost every condition, from calm lakes to rapids. And it has held up. She doesn’t regret her purchase and recommends it as well. She also says that the customer service is amazing.
Dustin describes the Freein Explorer as a beast. He tested its rigidity by placing the board between two chairs—one chair supporting the nose and the other one the tail. There was nothing to hold up the middle of the SUP. He then got on the board and it held its weight well. However, he didn’t give it a five-star rating. He says it’s a little too big for him and the repair kit does not include glue.
Greg wasn’t too happy with his purchase. His Freein bag came apart when he tried to use it for the first time. He also received a faulty pump.
I mentioned above that the iRocker Nautical is in the same price range as the Freein Explorer. It is much more popular—and for good reasons too.
Freein Explorer vs. iRocker Nautical
The iRocker Nautical paddle board is shorter and narrower than the Freein and it has a lower weight limit (240 pounds). However, it is made by a reputable company. iRocker SUP have been here for a while and all their iSUPs are leaders in the market. Their customer service is impeccable and they are always improving on their products.
The Nautical inflatable is built using two layers of the best quality PVC. Although most iSUPs are made with PVC, very few have two layers. The quality of the PVC and the two layers ensure outstanding rigidity. You will be using this one for years to come- regardless of the amount of abuse you subject it to.
The included fiberglass paddle is among the best since it is very light and floats. It is one of the things that make the Nautical stand out among competitors. You get an aluminum paddle with iSUPs in this price range; or even no paddle at all.
Lastly, the Nautical comes with a high-quality backpack. It won’t come apart. It is tough, has a great design and is comfortable. You get all these for almost the same price.
You may also like our Gili Air SUP Review.
There is no question about the quality of the Freein. You will hardly find a negative review. The manufacturer has used military-grade material and construction. The width, length, and thickness are all just right. On top of that, you get a full SUP bundle and a 20-liter dry bag. That’s a great deal.
But given the quality of the board and accessories, you may want to consider getting a Nautical.