My buddy was dead set on picking up one of these boards, so this weekend, he and I drove up to Ventura to the shop. I was actually excited for the trip so I could side-by-side compare a handshaped poly vs handshaped EPS vs boardworks vs GSI walden.
Not too much traffic and we managed to get there pretty fast. Before I got in the car, I lifted and sorta scoped each of the longboards I had laying around to keep my perspective in check. Anyway, at the Walden shop I was able to pull a 9'6" handshaped EPS w/ standard glassing Magic vs a GSI 9'6" Magic out of the racks. Apparently the shop was sold out of the Boardworks models and I am actually now not sure if they do a handshaped EPS.
The salesguy told me that the glass schedule on the poly was 6 on the bottom w/ a top schedule of 6+4 on the nose & tail and 6+6 on the deck.
The salesguy had ridden both boards extensively and noted that aside from durability benefits, there was limited difference in weight and ride characteristics. I was a bit surprised about this given my experience in the past on Surftechs versus heavier glassed boards -- as I have really noticed the "corkyness" in the past. Anyway, I studied the shape of both boards and to the eye (and per the dimensions written on the stringer) the shape of both boards was identical. The sales guy stated that both boards were shaped identically. Regarding weight, I must've lifted each board 20 times trying to get a good gauge on weight, going back and forth, etc etc... and to my very rough estimate, the GSI weighed slightly less -- although candidly, it was very hard to tell. My guess is that it was on the order of 1-2 lbs at most, but I would want to check it on a scale.
Anyway, my buddy grabbed the GSI Magic model (mostly because of the durability). By the way, both the GSI & poly Magics in 9'6" were right around $750. When we got back to LA, I compared the weight of the Magic relative to a lightly glassed sand finish 9'6" Anderson HPLB that I picked up a week or two ago. The weights (per my bathroom scale and rough approximation) were almost identical -- except the 9'6" Anderson has an 18" nose and is about 2 7/8" thick, wheras the GSI is a 9'6" has a 19" nose and is 3" or 3 1/8" thick (note, I'm at work so I can't confirm the exact dimensions, but these are close). For reference, the Anderson is a 2+1 w/ a 7" Greenough 4a center, the Walden is a 2+1 w/ a 7" Walden center.
So early this AM, we headed out in some super low tide hollowy beach break conditions around waist to shoulder+ during the sets. I had my Anderson and he had the Magic. We swapped boards about half way through the session and I really noticed a the difference -- the Anderson (being smaller in the nose) felt a bit loose -- the Magic was a bette wave catcher and had some better trim / down the line characteristics. Having ridden hand shaped for a while now, I was very impressed by the GSI board. It rode a heck of a lot better than any popouts I've ridden in the past and had a lot more weight/drive characteristics than I was used to on those corky things. In summary, if I was really a shredder, the Anderson felt (oddly) lighter in the water and more manuverable and the Magic felt a bit more versatile. I think if the size dropped down, the Magic would've been the call for the day.