"Just think of PFD like a seat belt. It's okay for tough guys wear seat belts."
I'm guessing you can't swim.
If I'm not wearing a PFD and I fall in the water, it just means I'm going for a swim. If I get into a car crash and dont have a belt to restrain me, I fly through the window head first and likely die.
This is a sport where one twists, rotates and reaches while they paddle. I guess sport division racing where no PFD is required is just to allow paddlers to be "tough guys". It has nothing to do with anything else right?