Recent observations of the growth of sea waves under the action of wind have established that the rate of growth is several times greater than has yet been accounted for. In this paper a new mechanism of wave generation is proposed, based on the idea of a maser-like action of the short waves on the longer waves. It is shown that when surface waves decay they impart their momentum to the surrounding fluid. Short waves are readily regenerated by shear instability. But a longer wave passing through shorter waves causes the short waves to steepen on the long-wave crests. Hence the short waves impart more of their momentum to the crests of the long waves, where the orbital motion of the long waves is in the direction of wave propagation. If the short waves are decaying only weakly (under the action of viscosity), the effect on the long waves is slight. But when the short waves are forced to decay strongly by breaking on the forward slopes of the long waves the gain of energy by the latter is greatly increased. Calculations suggest that the mechanism is capable of imparting energy to sea waves at the rate observed.