Ocean wave technology is one of the most exciting areas due to vast but untapped energy potential worldwide. Technologies on ocean wave harvesting energy have been explored for centuries and are still undergoing with challenges. This paper provides a comprehensive literature review on the progress of classical and modern control strategies, including latching control, declutch control, reactive control, model predictive control, state space control, etc. For three major types of ocean wave energy converters (OWECs), i.e. oscillating-body wave energy converter (including point absorber, attenuator and terminator), oscillating water column and overtopping device. It also introduces the nature of ocean waves, mathematical models of ocean wave energy and the hydrodynamics of the representative OWECs.