The capability of the direct volume of fluid method for describing the surface dynamics of a free two-dimensional rising bubble is evaluated using quantities of a recently published benchmark. The model equations are implemented in the open source computational fluid dynamics library OpenFOAM®. Here, a main ingredient of the numerical method is the so-called surface compression that corrects the fluxes near the interface between two phases. The application of this method with respect to two test cases of a benchmark is considered in the main part. The test cases differ in physical properties, thus in different surface tension effects. The quantities centre of mass position, circularity and rise velocity are tracked over time and compared with the ones given in the benchmark. For test case one, where surface tension effects are more pre-eminent, deviations from the benchmark results become more obvious. However, the flow features are still within reasonable range. Nevertheless, for test case two, which has higher density and viscosity ratios and above all a lower influence of the surface tension force, good agreement compared with the benchmark reference results is achieved. This paper demonstrates the good capabilities of the direct volume of fluid method with surface compression with regard to the preservation of sharp interfaces, boundedness, mass conservation and low computational time. Some limitation regarding the occurrence of parasitic currents, bad pressure jump prediction and bad grid convergence have been observed. With these restrictions in mind, the method is suitable for the simulation of similar two-phase flow configurations. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.