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Direct drive wave energy converters are attractive due to the elimination of intermediate mechanical power conversion stages. Longitudinal flux (LF) linear generators with iron-cored stators have so far been dominant in experimental direct drive WECs, but suffer from high bearing loads and unwanted end effects. A novel linear air-cored topology is presented in this paper which eliminates most of the end effects associated with LF iron-cored machines as well as the attraction forces between iron-cored stators and magnet translators. The attraction forces between the opposing sides of the translators of double-sided air-cored machines are also ideally eliminated. An analytical model and an exhaustive optimization procedure for finding the minimum active mass subject to certain performance specifications are developed for the novel topology. Finite element analysis is used to verify and further analyze the model. First test results from a 1 kW experimental machine correspond well with designed values and confirm the feasibility of implementing the novel topology on a small scale.