To improve the energy extraction performance of the oscillating hydrofoil, the lift force that acts on the oscillating hydrofoil is analyzed. The pressure difference between the oscillating hydrofoil‘s opposing surfaces is dominant to generate the lift force. Forming and shedding of the leading-edge vortex from the hydrofoil surface determines the pressure difference between the opposing surfaces of the oscillating hydrofoil. In this paper, the hydrofoil with different chord flexibility coefficients and maximum offset at the trailing edge are analyzed to obtain the power coefficient, lift coefficient, and moment coefficient of the oscillating hydrofoil. The influence mechanism of chord-wise deformation of the oscillating hydrofoil on the energy extraction performance is explored. According to the Kutta–Joukowsky condition and the Stokes’ theorem, the relationship between the attached vortex on the hydrofoil and the surface pressure of the hydrofoil, the surface pressure difference of the hydrofoil, and the lift force that acts on the hydrofoil are investigated. By quantifying the vortex intensity, the ascending-shedding process of the attached vortex on the hydrofoil is characterized. Finally, the complete influence chain among the chord-wise flexure, the attached vortex on the hydrofoil, and the energy extraction performance of the oscillating hydrofoil is established.