Presented is a preliminary investigation into the modeling, active control design, and simulation of a vertical axis pendulum wave energy converter, or vertical axis PWEC. Seeking to leverage their promising potential for energy extraction, an active control strategy for the PWEC pendulum dynamics is developed such that net electric power production is increased. Equations of motion for a generic PWEC power take off system are developed. Finally, an active control strategy is derived, being based on optimal and model predictive control theories. Simulations of the generic vertical axis PWEC, both with and without active control, are implemented within a representative Oregon irregular ocean wave environment. Comparisons of the simulations indicate strong increases in net PWEC electric power generation by actively controlling the pendulum's dynamics. Future pathways for active control development and PWEC advancement are then proposed.