In this paper, we present a finite element model for free surface flows on fixed meshes. The main novelty of the approach, compared with typical fixed mesh finite element models for such flows, is that we take advantage of the particularities of free surface flow, instead of considering it a particular case of two‐phase flow. The fact that a given free surface implies a known boundary condition on the interface, allows us to solve the Navier–Stokes equations on the fluid domain uncoupled from the solution on the rest of the finite element mesh. This, together with the use of enhanced integration allows us to model low Froude number flows accurately, something that is not possible with typical two‐phase flow models applied to free surface flow.