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Lineup shot at Impossibles.

The Ultimate Guide to Surfing Impossibles

Impossibles is probably the most photographic surf spot on the planet.

You may have seen a photo of Impossibles in a magazine or online.

The long lines and perfect peeling waves appear to defy reality.

There are images of Impossibles being incorrectly represented on social media as other surf spots such as Chicama.

But the truth is that these photos are none other than the iconic Impossibles.

Perfect wave at impossibles.

Impossibles is aptly named because most of the waves are impossibly fast and impossible to make.

But with the right knowledge and understanding of wave selection, you could get the wave of your life here.

As you read this guide, you’ll learn important information to help you succeed at one of Bali’s most challenging surf spots.

So read on and learn how to make Impossibles, possible.

Impossibles surfing information

Impossibles is a left-hand reef break located between Padang Padang and Bingin.

The wave races along the reef with enough time for a few sections. But oftentimes the wave will outrun you.

Impossibles is usually less crowded than its neighboring breaks such as Uluwatu and Bingin. Also, there is such a wide playing field that you should be able to find your own space, even on crowded days.

The reef at Impossibles spans for about 1 kilometer and there are three sections: Top, Middle, and End.

The Top is the section closest to Padang Padang, in line with Villa Pemutih, and the End is closest to Bingin. The Middle peak is located in front of Villa Bayuh Sabbha.

The Top and Middle sections offer the fast-breaking walls that Impossibles is known for. The End section is more of an open-face wave that you can carve maneuvers on.

When the swell is big enough, Impossibles will provide the longest surfable ride in Bali.

You could get the longest ride of your life here if you pick the right wave. You’ll be able to go all the way from the Top peak near Padang Padang all the way to Bingin.

Impossibles can produce a leg-achingly long and fast ride with no cutbacks.

Down the line and speed, speed, speed.

How to get the perfect wave at Impossibles

To get the ride of your life at Impossibles, you must choose the right wave.

You see, wave selection is the name of the game.

Now listen, when the line of the wave is long, then you can forget it. The wave is going to break too quickly for you to be able to make it.

But if the wave is tapering and it seems like it’s going to be a short ride, then it could produce the longest wave of your life.

It seems counterintuitive, but the waves that look like they will be the shortest ride are the ones that offer the longest rides.

The smaller waves always run too fast down the line, so you want to try to catch the medium to large set waves.

There is not much point surfing Impossibles when the waves are head high or smaller as the sections are always too fast and the wave closes out.

Remember this, and you’ll be better equipped than most of the other surfers in the water that day.

Perfect lines at Impossibles.

You just need one or two long rides at Impossibles to make your session, your day, and maybe even your trip to Bali.

You don’t believe me? Then it means you haven’t experienced the thrill of racing a wave at Impossibles for 500+ meters.

As you race through each section, you think it will be the last one you make. But you find that it is makeable.

Your legs are aching and your heart is pounding as the adrenaline gives you the energy you need to keep pumping your board.

Riding the right wave at Impossibles is an experience like no other.

Normally you’ll find a section that’s impossible to make. But the best waves keep going until there’s no wave left to ride.

Unlike other surf spots in the Uluwatu region of Bali, there is no current out the back at Impossibles. So instead of needing to paddle against a current to reposition yourself, you can sit and wait for the perfect wave.

Usually, 1 out of every 20 waves at Impossibles breaks at the right speed to give you an excellent and long ride. On a good day, the ratio improves to 1 out of every 10.

So be patient, wait for the right wave, and you could be greatly rewarded.

And remember, you want to go for the waves where the shoulder is tapering and the line is short.

Best time to surf Impossibles

Impossibles is surfable in a range of different conditions, and it’s surfable on all tides.

But you need the conditions to align for Impossibles to break optimally and to get that perfect ride you dream of.

The best time to surf Impossibles is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. During the dry season, the winds are nearly always optimal, and there will be a few days a month when the swell is big enough for some Impossibly long rides.

Surfer on a large wave at Impossibles.

The best conditions for surfing Impossibles are when it’s around double overhead and a medium strength offshore wind. Any smaller than that and the wave sections. It will hold triple overhead but you will always get caught by clean up sets as the reef is quite flat, and the sets break far out.

People will tell you a south swell is best. They will also tell you a west swell is best. The truth is that swell direction is a factor in the size of the waves, but not how the wave breaks. On any given day, most waves are too fast, and it is about being patient and picking the right one.

The first and second peaks break best at mid-tide. Third peak works best at low tide. Third peak only works good when the swell is more than double overhead. Any smaller than double overhead on the first and second peak, then you can forget third peak unless you are an intermediate surfer looking for less size and quality.

On a bigger swell, Impossibles will break well at high tide. Impossibles does not handle an onshore or cross-shore wind as it breaks too fast, and it needs an offshore wind to hold the wave up for the sections to be makeable.

Bear in mind that the inside gets shallow, especially at lower tides, so you will want to use some caution. There are fingers of reef that make entry to the water and exit of the water difficult at low tide. Be careful exiting the water riding the whitewater as your fins can get snagged – your board will stop with the risk of you going face forward into the reef.

How to enter the water at Impossibles

There are multiple steep cliff paths that lead to Impossibles Beach.

Once you’re at Impossibles Beach, you can either walk across the reef if the tide is low enough or paddle straight out on higher tides.

You could also enter via Padang Padang or Bingin.

On big days, it can be a challenge to paddle straight out at Impossibles because the constant rolling white water will send you backward and sweep you toward Bingin.

It’s not unusual for a set of ten or more waves to roll in and you’ll waste a lot of energy. On the inside, there is a strong current sweeping you toward Bingin.

Insider tip: halfway between Padang and the Top peak, there is a section where the waves break smaller and it’s usually easy to paddle out. This is the best entry point at mid or high tide, but not at low tide as the waves break constantly in very shallow water. At low tide it’s better to paddle out directly in front of first peak. Third peak is difficult to access at low tide. Paddling from Bingin is best if there is a big swell.

Large, long waves at Impossibles.

When the swell is triple overhead, it’s usually worthwhile to paddle out via the channel in Padang Padang. On even the biggest swells, it’s always easy to get out to the lineup via the Padang channel, and then paddle around 200 meters to the Top peak. Make sure you paddle out deep enough not to get caught by sneaker sets – baby Padang is lethal on a big swell.

Can beginners surf Impossibles?

Impossibles is absolutely not a suitable wave for beginners.

The wave breaks too fast for any beginner surfer to be able to make the section.

Moreover, the constantly rolling white water can be a problem for beginners with longboards.

For beginners, there are more suitable surf spots in the Uluwatu region in particular and Bali more generally.

Baby Padang is the best surf spot for beginners in Bali, and it’s located right next to Impossibles. Jimbaran is also a good option for beginners if the swell is too big.

Impossibles is not a great surf spot for intermediate surfers either because it’s so fast. Here are some alternative choices for intermediates in Bali.

But when Uluwatu is too big and the current at Baby Padang is too strong, Impossibles is suitable if it’s less than double overhead.

Ultimately, Impossibles is a surf spot for advanced-level surfers.

But even decent regular footers may struggle surfing backhand at Impossibles because the wave breaks so fast. The difficulty for regular footers surfing Impossibles is that it’s very difficult to pump the board backhand. Keeping a high line is important, and remember that sections that look too fast too make, hold up for longer than you expect, as the reef is very flat.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Impossibles is not just another surf spot.

This wave is an experience that calls out to adventurous surfers seeking a challenge.

It’s named Impossibles because most of the waves are Impossibly fast to make. But you are now equipped with the knowledge required to select the best wave, and ride it until your legs are aching.

With patience, you can transform the impossible into the possible, by selecting the right wave. And you might capture the perfect ride that will define your session, day, or even year.

Surfer riding a wave at Impossibles.

You have the knowledge, and now it’s time for you to embrace the challenge.

Are you ready to make Impossibles possible and capture an unforgettable ride?

You may have an advanced level skill set and now possess the knowledge required to surf Impossibles. But you could still benefit from the guidance of an expert local surf guide.

Our advanced surf guiding program is designed to make sure you surf the best waves on any given day in Bali.

Imagine riding a kilometer-long wave at Impossibles under the guidance of professional local surf guides. Feel the triumph as you make it over to Bingin and are the envy of all the other surfers.

This can be your reality when you book to stay with Padang Padang Surf Camp Surf guiding is offered at a reduced price.

Staying somewhere else while you’re in Bali? No problem. Our advanced surf guiding is available to non-residents as well.

Let’s conquer Impossibles, together.