Thanks Much Chris,
Since 5.3 is as big as I need here in San Francisco it sounds to me like the 88 will be a better board for the long term especially after I've (ahem) mastered some of the sliding moves. Also, I sail 85% 4.5-4.7. But it also sounds like the 98 will be better for right now to learn how to slip and slide.
So I'm thinking I should try and find a beat up 98 cheap and then see where I'm at before investing in the 88.
Any other thoughts - love to get opinion from Sarah Offringa, Kiri or Taty.