Start your SUP journey here: Portofino stand up paddleboard review

Trail Outdoor Leisure's 10-foot paddleboard comes with all the kit a beginner needs. Just add water.

from Trail Outdoor Leisure
RRP  £249.99
Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino stand up paddleboard

by Adam Binnie |
Updated on

Since reviewing the original Portofino stand up paddleboard in 2021, Trail Outdoor Leisure has redesigned it and added a new colour option. Read on for our updated impressions of this excellent beginner's board.

If you’ve been to the seaside, a local lake or river recently, you’ll have likely seen someone on a stand-up paddleboard. The sport has simply exploded – largely thanks to inflatable SUPs that pack into a rucksack, and are easier to transport in your car than a kayak or surfboard. Plus unlike the latter, you can enjoy paddleboarding whether there are waves or not, and even if you live inland.

Flexibility then is the most appealing thing about the sport in general, but conversely it's a very undesirable attribute in the paddleboard itself. Can this feature-rich but value-focussed Portofino model from Trail Outdoor Leisure stand up to stiff competition? Get pumped up with What's The Best's Adam Binnie and find out.

Verdict: Since I first tried the Portofino paddleboard in 2021 it has been relaunched with a new colour - you can now get it in red as well as blue - plus I've done some serious mileage on it in all sorts of conditions.

It's still a great all-rounder pitched right down the middle in terms of size – this paddleboard will suit beginners of most shapes and weights, plus because it comes with everything you need, will get you out on the water straight away. In time more serious paddlers will probably want to upgrade some parts like the pump and paddle, but the included kit suits newbies and occasional use perfectly. The only thing we’d recommend adding is a flotation device, and of course some training with a reputable SUP teacher.

Editor's Choice: The best paddleboard for beginners


  • Great for beginners
  • All the kit you need
  • Packs away perfectly


  • Paddle is a bit flexy
  • Stronger pumps available
  • Coiled leash is better for rivers than the sea

Where can I get one?

Stock levels for good value paddleboards are a bit tricky to pin down, but you can find thePortofino on Amazon as well as directly through Trail Outdoor Leisure.

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Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino stand up paddleboard

• Board size is suitable for most

• Paddle extends for taller riders

• Material quality feels very high

Size matters when it comes to water-based board sports – there’s a reason you learn to surf on a huge foamboard with more float than the door at the end of Titanic – and the same goes for stand up paddleboards. More buoyancy means more stability, and more stability means more time on the board having fun, and less time in the water getting cold.

Although in reality getting the right size is a bit less fiddly with an inflatable SUP because they’re already pretty buoyant, and because you’re likely to be paddling at a steady pace on flat water rather than carving down the face of a wave. But it should still be a consideration, and the best beginner boards will favour stability over outright manoeuvrability and pace.

Clearly that thought has driven the design of the Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino because the dimensions of this all-rounder SUP should suit as many riders as possible, making it an easy choice as your first paddleboard.

Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino stand up paddleboard

It measures 10 feet in length, with a 33-inch width and 4.75-inch depth – meaning that while very light or heavy users might find it cumbersome or wobbly respectively, the majority of people who fall into the middle will get on just fine.

I weigh somewhere between 90-100kg depending on what point of my yo-yo diet I'm at. The original blue Portofino claimed a maximum weight of 130kg, while the red one curiously drops to 120kg. Either is fine for me, although anecdotally the red one does look like it sits lower in the water.

Contained in the neat rucksackis a pump with pressure gauge and hose, a telescopic oar, removable fin, coil leash and repair patches. Everything you need bar a floatation device, essentially. It packs up super small too, taking up about a quarter of my Volvo XC40’s boot.

The board itself uses a common drop-stitch construction (individual strands connect the deck and the base internally, to retain shape and rigidity when inflated) and reinforced rails, so it’s super sturdy and puncture-resistant but light to carry.


Inflating the Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
©What's The Best/Adam Binnie

• Good proportions

• Easy to inflate

• Solid construction

Air volume is what makes you and the paddleboard float (look for roughly 1 litre of air per kilogram of rider weight) and this comes from the overall length, width and depth of the board.

Those dimensions also affect the way it handles though – too long and it won’t turn easily, too wide and it’ll be hard to paddle quickly, while excess depth makes the board wobbly and uncomfortably tall to stand on. Plus exhausting to inflate.

Although not especially long the Portofino is quite a wide board, so it’s agile in the water and its relatively thin 4.75-inch depth keeps your centre of gravity lower too, for better stability.

The Griptech material you stand on enables rock-solid foot placement even when wet, while the telescopic paddle can be made short enough to use while kneeling, or long enough for this 6 foot 3 reviewer to use comfortably while stood up.

Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino stand up paddleboard

I know it's called stand up paddleboarding but as a newbie you'll probably spend a fair bit of time kneeling down (or even as an experienced person in rough conditions or frankly when your legs are just too tired). Other boards I've used with a gripper deck are great for improving traction underfoot, but can be a bit uncomfortable on the knees. The Portofino somehow manages to be great at both.

To inflate the board you twist one end of a plastic tube onto the valve and the other screws into the pump – this is a single-cylinder, single-action pump (meaning it only pushes air into the board on the downstroke) and so takes about 5-10 minutes to see the desired 15psi on the gauge. This is one area you might want to upgrade if you find yourself paddling every weekend. It soon gets a bit tiresome inflating it manually.

The paddle itself is the other – in practice, it’s absolutely fine to use, with a broad head that detaches from the telescopic section in order to pack away into the bag. There’s a bit of flex at this point though, and the portion of the paddle with the T-grip on the end can be pulled out of the main shaft while lengthening it if you’re not careful.

In reality, you’re probably not going to do this often, and the paddle floats if you drop it anyway, but you might like to add a nice carbonfibre one to your birthday list if you plan on taking the Portofino on longer trips.


Paddling the Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
©What's The Best/Adam Binnie

• Stable even with a 90-100kg rider

• Moves quickly through the water

• Even handles small surf well too

I found the Portofino to be solid as a rock. I also went for a brief paddle with my 20kg son on board and at this point, it was clear we were nearing the weight limit.

In the sea I could have done with a bit more stability (or skill) but managed to catch a few waves after a day’s practise. If I was using it In the sea often I’d probably buy an additional straight-corded leash, though.

The coiled version is good for touring on rivers because it doesn’t drag in the water and get snared on branches or other flotsam, but it made the board ping back at me in the sea when I fell off. Which happened a lot. Paddleboarding in the sea is a whole other board game.

Bungee cord storage on the Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board
©What's The Best/Adam Binnie

On calmer water the Portofino proved to be a peaceful way to get about, with a confident stance in the water and a bungee cord section at the front for storing a small bagor picnic. It glides along without constantly slapping against the surface like some less rigid boards I’ve tried.

One of the best thought-out bits of design though is the bag it comes in, which has a big zip along the front to get the bits in and out easily, and has lots of extra room so you don’t have to fully deflate the board and fold it perfectly to get it in. It looks cool as well, and this shouldn’t matter, but does.


Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board packed away
©What's The Best/Adam Binnie

At £289 the Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino looks like fantastic value for money – it’s got everything you need in a beginner-friendly package with space to upgrade later down the line if you fall in love with the sport.

Its rivals include the Decathlon Itiwit (actually £149.99, bit doesn’t come with a pump or a paddle) or the much more expensive Bluefin Cruise, which incrementally builds on the Portofino in a few areas – a fibreglass paddle, a double-action pump, and a kayak conversion kit.

There is akayak seat for the Trail Outdoor Leisure board if you want it, and I certainly think it’s worth paying for as it adds another degree of usability, and frankly, because it looks like fun.

Finally, the biggest rival in this price category is the AquaPlanet Allround Ten, which is a touch cheaper and comes with all the same kit as the Portofino, plus a dry bag. Still, it’s slightly narrower and says it’s only good for paddlers up to 100kg, so I’d have to make sure I’d not eaten a big lunch.


Editor's Choice: The best paddleboard for beginners


  • Great for beginners
  • All the kit you need
  • Packs away perfectly


  • Paddle is a bit flexy
  • Stronger pumps available
  • Coiled leash is better for rivers than the sea

• A great all-round package

• Some cheaper rivals (for smaller riders)

• The perfect entry to the sport

One of the best things about stand-up paddleboarding is how accessible it is - you don’t need perfect conditions (or skills) to get out on the water and have a good time. However, this attribute is eroded by the intimidating amount of kit you need to buy.

As a complete package I’d have no hesitation in recommending the Trail Outdoor Leisure Portofino to beginners and occasional paddlers alike. It’s got everything you need to get going and offers a stable and forgiving platform to build confidence on during those first few wobbly rides.

My only complaint was that I couldn’t do yoga all that well on it. But then I’m not particularly good at yoga on dry land. So perhaps that’s my problem rather than the board’s.

How we tested it

I've surfed all my life but discovered paddleboarding four years ago on a river in Wales, and instantly fell in love with the anywhere, anytime nature of the sport. It's so easy to just throw an inflatable board in the car boot and go. I tested the Portofino on a river and in the sea (even though it says it’s not really for waves, but they were only small, promise) to get a good idea of how it works as an all-rounder.

Adam Binnie is the Commercial Content Editor and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in bikes, fitness, cars, parenting and cooking.

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