This study investigates performance and load shedding capabilities of an oscillating surge wave energy converter (OSWEC) that utilizes adjustable geometry to control hydrodynamic coefficients. The body consists of a bottom-hinged rectangular paddle in which the frame holds five horizontal flaps spanning the interior of the frame. Each flap can rotate independently about its center of rotation to alter hydrodynamic coefficients. A 1:14 scale model was built for wave tank tests where the OSWEC's natural response to regular waves was measured. Tests with the paddle fixed vertically were conducted to measure the moment induced by incident waves. Results were compared to numerical simulations which determined that flap orientation significantly affected wave energy transmission past the device. Numerical simulations with the addition of a linear rotational damper power take-off (PTO) suggested that with flaps open, the resistive moment was reduced by up to 47%, the surge force on the foundation up to 55%, and the capture width up to 72% over a range of wave periods and PTO damping values. The experimental nondimensional excitation moments and reflection coefficients were reduced by up to 54%. Overall, the flaps provide mechanical means to reduce loads, thus improving the design life of a WEC system.