Thanks Taty & Chandra,
I really want to go for the 88 but think the 98 will be better for short term learning so here is my solution....
I will take a vacation to a top freestyle venue where I can practice practice practice and / or take a bunch of freestyle lessons. Then I will buy the 88 for sailing here in SF.
So my last question is where in the world should I go in late December for the absolute best freestyle where I can rent the latest gear and take lessons? It would be amazing if there is a freestyle boot camp happening somewhere!