SereneLife Inflatable Review
Cons: Slower and less stable, minimal cargo space, no front or back handles
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The SereneLife Inflatable SUP comes with all of the tools and accessories you need to get out on the water for less than half the price of most higher-end boards, making it a fantastic buy for families new to the sport. Compared to pricer boards, the materials and construction are slightly lower quality, the board is smaller and less stable, the onboard storage is minimal, and the included paddle isn't the best. But for newer paddlers, many of those things don't matter when you're out on the water, and the SereneLife makes that possible without breaking the bank.
The 10-foot SereneLife is not as stable as many of the larger boards that we tested. Although it's rated for a 275-pound capacity, it seems better suited for smaller, lighter passengers. This is especially true if you're actually trying to get somewhere. It can accommodate several lightweight passengers if you're just splashing around in the water, but the lack of stability might slow you down from reaching cruising speed.
Stepping onto this boat feels less stable than our highest scoring boards, but its square tail and recreational-style dimensions keep it reasonably well-balanced. Once you get your sea legs and gain some momentum, the platform feels more secure. The long center fin helps the board track in a straight line and also provides a bit of added stability in the water. It's a reasonably steady board for beginners, but it's not the most forgiving teacher out there.
The SereneLife isn't our first choice for a yoga board or rough water unless you're pretty small, have fantastic balance, or are just not that concerned about getting wet.
A medium-size SUP, the SereneLife offers decent all-around performance for a variety of tasks, but it's not built for high speeds. Generally speaking, longer boards are faster boards, and this one is among the shortest in our lineup. The square tail shape that aids in stability also shortens the craft, ultimately slowing its glide. The rounded nose and flat bottom also translate to casual recreation but hamper top speed.
Once you gain momentum and are paddling steadily, the sense of headway is pleasant enough. You're not fighting to push a barge through the water, but if you stop paddling for a moment, you'll lose your flow. The paddle that comes with this board also isn't the most comfortable or efficient. Its flexible blade slices sideways through the water compromising forward momentum. To get the most glide out of the SereneLife, it could be a good idea to buy a new paddle. Although the included paddle is lower-quality, some high-end modern paddles cost as much as this entire board, and most beginner paddlers will be content with the standard equipment that comes with this package.
The SerenLife is a reasonably maneuverable board thanks to its shorter length, lighter weight, rounded nose, and flat bottom. This geometry that makes it somewhat less stable and a bit slower overall also allows it to plane across the surface of the water easier and allows for quicker, sharper turns. While turning and maneuvering are largely dependent on a paddler's skill, this board makes it easier for users of all abilities to make easier turns and to point the board in the direction that they want to go.
Ease of Transport
The board's center handle makes it easy to haul this reasonably lightweight board around when it's inflated. Unfortunately, the lack of handles in the front and back meant that you can't share the task with anyone (a handy option for kids) and that it's tricky to grab the craft at its end to haul it in or out of the water. When you're ready to pack things up and head home, this board rolls up pretty easily. The board itself has a thinner, plasticky feel than other pricier options, allowing it to roll pretty smoothly and tightly.
Like many modern inflatable SUP kits, everything you need to paddle packs into a single backpack for easy portage. We're talking board, paddle, pump, fin, leash, and repair kit. Since it is a smaller board that is pretty lightweight, the backpack is pretty easy to cart around. An included strap holds the folded vessel tightly together to help you wrestle it back into the bag.
The pack itself is functional and reasonably durable, but it offers less structural support and carrying comfort than most other models in our lineup. If we were hauling the pack for any longer distance, we'd certainly prefer a fancier pack, but that luxury is usually not necessary for a smaller and lighter board.
Ease of Inflation
The pump included with the SereneLife is sturdy and connects securely to the board's valve, working well overall. Compared to other boards with larger overall volumes, this one is a breeze to inflate thanks to its smaller size. While pumping up a SUP by hand is never an overly exciting prospect, remember to use your legs and body weight and keep your arms as straight as you can, and you'll be ready to go in no time.
Offering up a package that includes everything you need to hit the water at less than half the price of most of the boards in our review, the SereneLife's value is its best feature. With its perceived lower durability, its lifespan can certainly be extended by carrying it by the center handle and keeping it from dragging across rocks or pavement. If you do this, the board should escort you through many seasons of splashy fun.
It doesn't stack up to the best boards we tested, but the SereneLife gets the job done, providing everything you need to start paddling at an extremely accessible price point. We love that it offers a more affordable way for folks to experience the joy of walking on water and gliding across glassy pools on blazing hot summer days.
— Nick Bruckbauer