Large-scale experiments were conducted at the Coastal Research Centre (FZK), Germany to characterize the mechanics and characteristics of impact pressures due to breaking waves on a vertical sea wall with a recurve. The characteristics and distribution of impact pressure are found to be greatly depending on the breaking case, so the breaking wave impact is classified into different case like the slow breaking wave, breaking with small air trap and breaking wave with large air trap. When a small air is entrained between the breaking waves and the structure, there is a significant increase in impact pressures. However, if the entrapped air volume increases, impact pressure reduces because of the breaking of waves into smaller water droplets. The impact pressure variation at the vertical wall and recurve along the vertical direction are reported in different breaking cases from the experimental results and the relation between maximum impact pressures with respect to rise time is described by a power equation. © 2017, © 2017 Indian Society for Hydraulics.