To further maximize power absorption in both regular and irregular ocean wave environments, nonlinear-model-predictive control (NMPC) was applied to a model-scale point absorber developed at the University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA. The NMPC strategy requires a power-takeoff (PTO) unit that could be turned on and off, as the generator would be inactive for up to 60% of the wave period. To confirm the effectiveness of this NMPC strategy, an in-house-designed permanent magnet linear generator (PMLG) was chosen as the PTO. The time-varying performance of the PMLG was first characterized by dry-bench tests, using mechanical relays to control the electromagnetic conversion process. The on/off sequencing of the PMLG was tested under regular and irregular wave excitation to validate NMPC simulations using control inputs obtained from running the choice optimizer offline. Experimental results indicate that successful implementation was achieved and absorbed power using NMPC was up to 50% greater than the passive system, which utilized no controller. Previous investigations into MPC applied to wave energy converters have lacked the experimental results to confirm the reported gains in power absorption. However, after considering the PMLG mechanical-to-electrical conversion efficiency, the electrical power output was not consistently maximized. To improve output power, a mathematical relation between the efficiency and damping magnitude of the PMLG was inserted in the system model to maximize the electrical power output through continued use of NMPC which helps separate this work from previous investigators. Of significance, results from latter simulations provided a damping time series that was active over a larger portion of the wave period requiring the actuation of the applied electrical load, rather than on/off control.