Threedom Surfboard by JVP

Team rider, Tony, on a modern Threedom, hard off the Bottom!

Ocean Rhythms

The Original Threedom- From 1980

Shawn Tracht on the Modern Threedom // Photo: Tim Schmidt //

The Modern Threedom 2012

Shawn Tracht riding the JVP Threedom

Shawn Tracht digging deep. Photo: Brent Lieberman //

Tracht in the pocket- Photo: Brent Lieberman //

The Story of the Threedom

The conception of the ”Threedom” fin configuration came over us, myself and one of my best mates Dave Lambertson of Carpinteria, in a garage relaxing over a couple of games of billiards  In 1980, we had a circus of board designs to choose from; single fins, twinnies and now the thruster.  That being said the focus of our conversation slipped right into critiquing board design.  Ok, so the single fin is maxing out with no-noses, wide points behind center and wider tails.  The twin fin, for those that could ride them, were slashing and skating in and out of control, if you will and then the resolve to those who couldn’t manage either was the thruster, to plug the gap, no offense to twin lovers.  I always had respect for those that could rip them.

Oh….so back to the “Threedom” concept………. Dave, a sagey kind of thinker, proceeded to analyze the thruster.  Apparently he said he had had an earlier epiphany before he went to sleep one night about making the side fins smaller and the back fin taller to alleviate the tension on your back foot that never seems to allow you to stray too far from the cluster.  I was now mind surfing his epiphany and senses.  At that time I had a shaping bay inside the surf shop called “Ocean Rhythms” and couldn’t wait until morning to draw one up.  I had some outlines in mind already that might fit this new fin array and found the fin size; shape and placement had to be placed properly to meet this vision.  Obviously I made Dave the first one and was glassed by Moonlight Glassers of San Diego.

Since the wave prospects in Santa Barbara in the summer are rare, we ventured deep into mainland Mexico for some testing.  We hit some classic, quality waves and a bonus hurricane 10’ swell!  I had brought down a thruster and we traded off the new one which we hadn’t named yet between us.  I approached it with no expectation, just go for it and see where it wanted to take me.  Well, it did the opposite!  I took it where I wanted to go, kind of like surfing where your eyes lead you.  Wow!  My feet weren’t always over the fins and I could trim forward like a single fin. Cutbacks were smooth and drifted controllably, pulling verticals without losing speed and almost at will due to the side fins that are placed higher up on the rail line.  Because the side fins are toe in slightly and the fins spread further apart from one another, there is low drag and lots of carried speed throughout the tail section.  Needless to say, that is where we both agreed to characteristically call it “Threedom” (freedom!).

Shawn Tracht going vert.– Photo: Brent Lieberman //

In good fun, we added the “All World’ phrase to go along with our shared venture into discovery.  Obviously our take on this was not to replace a particular design, but to expand our horizons.  We made about 150 “Threedoms” out of Ocean Rhythms in the early 1980’s.  The board model never really was acknowledged all these years due to the explosion of board marketing and professional surfing.  It is fun to share this design now since there is a new explosion of sharing all and any kind of board design.  Some 30 years later, I still prefer riding the “Threedom” fin configuration which now is typically called a 2 + 1 set up.  I know that there are some of you out there that have experienced the “Threedom” in the same light Dave and I have.


9 responses to “Threedom

  1. A bunch of us over here at have now test road this board and we can’t say enough about it! It’s no wonder they’re featuring it in Deep Surfing Magazine in their Nov/Dec ’12 print and online issues. Congrats on a killer design bro, from all of us here at Online Magazine.

  2. My Freedom aka Threedom is without a doubt the fastest board I have ridden. I just love this design so much, and am on my second one having ridden the first one into the ground. What so many middle aged surfers don’t understand is that with either a mid-size Threedom or Viper they can catch a lot of waves just like on their 9ft-6in longboards, but intead of just standing there trimming they could be carving up a storm and speeding down the line!

    • Nancy, first off I admire your Stoke for surfing, you have real passion for being in the water. Your take on the Freedom Model aka… ( Threedom ) is lively with unusually good Acceleration. This design has been with me over 30+ years. It has been subject to be tuned with modern improvements without changing it’s original performance concept. It is to be guided and controlled by where the surfer want’s to take it…. I think it’s one of those unusual looking designs that you would have to try it to get it…The story line above on the Threedom pretty much explains it

  3. My new Threedom quickly became my go to board for both big and small waves. I found that I could ditch the long board at my local break in Santa Monica and still catch the same amount of waves but with the benefit of generating tons of speed and making a few turns. On big days at El Porto or County Line the Threedom also excels. I enjoyed taking off in the most critical part of the wave with very few and sometimes no paddles. Once you’re up the board reacts instantly to your subtle shifts in weight.
    John is an amazing shaper and all around great guy with a terrific family. He encouraged me to meet him in person to discuss the board and to just get to know each other so he could really give my board a personal touch.
    I couldn’t be more pleased with my experience.

    • Dan, I’m Stoked your finding your Threedom design exciting and effective on various surf conditions, especially as the waves got bigger. Like I said it’s a very neutral design and what I mean by that is, that you can control where and what you want the board to do and go, instead of having to understand the boards habits before you can maneuver it. Though one of the best part’s for me, was Meeting you, your Cool kids, and Wife as well. Glad we started out by discussing your surfing desires and color designs for your custom board along with our Glasser’s at Studio 609 Ventura who are the best I’ve ever worked with ! Looking forward to hooking up again… JP 🙂

  4. John, I bought one of your Threedom designs in about 82 or 83 outta your shop in Santa Barbara. One of the best boards I ever had. Ridden thrusters, Bonzers (3 & 5) and the Threedom is the best outta those for sure. Good to see your making them again. /Users/Marc/Desktop/Big Driftwood 1:15:86 1.jpeg

    • Thanks Marc, That was a fun period to discover the Threedom design. I’ve had a lot of comments along the same lines you’ve stated. So I have reinstated them with some updated tweaks to amplify their function… If your still surfing, I’m building them as long as 7’8″ for us older kids !

  5. I got a black 6′ 3″ single fin with a belly to vee and ping pong ball rails from the Perry Bro’s in 1981 and it changed the way I surfed. I killed the board in giant PV surf 4 years later and got them to build me a replacement that was turquoise and 6′ 4″ (same magic shape). Was bummed when I heard Ocean Rythms closed up – glad to see John is still going. He may remember me coming into the shop repeatedly over 6 months, looking at the black board and trying to get John or Mike to cut me a deal. The finally gave in a I got the board for $125. Yoo hoo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s