Experimental studies were conducted on a trapezoidal pendulum wave energy converter in regular waves. To obtain the incident wave height, the analytical method (AM) was used to separate the incident and reflected waves propagating in a wave flume by analysing wave records measured at two locations. The response amplitude operator (RAO), primary conversion efficiency and the total conversion efficiency of the wave energy converter were studied; furthermore, the power take-off damping coefficients corresponding to the load resistances in the experiment were also obtained. The findings demonstrate that the natural period for a pendulum wave energy converter is relatively large. A lower load resistance gives rise to a larger damping coefficient. The model shows relatively higher wave energy conversion efficiency in the range of 1.0–1.2 s for the incident wave period. The maximum primary conversion efficiency achieved was 55.5%, and the maximum overall conversion efficiency was 39.4%.