Energy-maximising control has proven to be of fundamental aid in the pathway towards commercialisation of wave energy conversion technology. The WEC control problem is based upon the design of a suitable control law capable of maximising energy extraction from the wave resource, while effectively minimising any risk of component damage. A particularly well-established family of WEC controllers is based upon a composite structure, where an optimal velocity reference is generated via direct optimal control procedures, followed by a suitable tracking control strategy. This paper presents the design and synthesis of a second order sliding mode controller to attain a reference tracking for a wave energy system. The presented approach can inherently handle parameter uncertainty in the model, which is ubiquitous within hydrodynamic modelling procedures. Furthermore, the proposed sliding mode controller has relatively mild computational requirements, and finite-time convergence to the designed surface, hence being an ideal candidate for real-time energy-maximising control of WEC systems.