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A novel strategy for the real-time control of oscillating wave energy converters (WECs) is proposed. The controller tunes the oscillation of the system such that it is always in phase with the wave excitation force and the amplitude of the oscillation is within given constraints. Based on a nonstationary, harmonic approximation of the wave excitation force, the controller is easily tuned in real-time for performance and constraints handling, through one single parameter of direct physical meaning. The effectiveness of the proposed solution is assessed for a heaving system in one degree of freedom, in a variety of irregular (simulated and real) wave conditions. A performance close to reactive control and to model predictive control is achieved. Additional benefits in terms of simplicity and robustness are obtained.