>"I like the idea of a self inflating over the foam, less bulk, ect. From what I understand, if I jump in the water it will automatically deploy. I am a very strong swimmer"
I'm all for saving weight and bulk in most cases, but unless the foam is a rule out (competitive sailing where you need to squeeze past team mates, or rowing a shell - my wife rows an open shell, solo at times, in Alaskan lakes and Californian bays), I really like the reliability of foam.
You're a strong swimmer, but what if you have a foot tangled in the boat rigging? Or if you hit your head on a rock or log? Or your hands are full trying to retain some gear from getting washed downriver?
I'm biased by my location - in our cold to very cold water, hand strength and coordination are lost so fast, that the biggest determinant of survival when a small plane ditches in water is if you were wearing a PFD when you exited the plane.
I'm unclear if this is for day trips only or for overnights. But a foam PFD has some multi-use possibilities. Very easily as a sit pad on a beach. Potentially as a very thick and insulating sleeping pad. Some of Daryl's DIY jackets using closed-cell-foam come to mind. It's a warm jacket, it's a sleeping pad, and (for the pack rafter), it's also a PFD albeit not USCG approved.
I'm an engineer, I look at the numbers. I don't worry about commercial plane crashes, terrorists or bear attacks. I worry about motor-vehicle accidents, heart disease, and hypothermia. My wife and I have always been as religious about PFDs in open boats as we are about seat belts in cars, even though I'd never really needed them until this May. After the boat sunk and we all got to shore on a remote beach, the non-Alaskans asked my buddy and me (a little accusingly), Why were you guys wearing PFDs?!? as if we knew the boat was going to sink. I honestly said, "Because I ALWAYS wear a PFD" (in an open boat, not the State Ferry, Loveboat, etc).
I modify simple, light foam PFDs (yes, I know I'm not supposed to modify them, but I do anyway) to include rather a lot of zippered or velcro pockets on the front. Because when you wash up on some beach while your boat goes under or downriver, it is really nice to have your VHF, PLB, knife, space blanket, and fire-starting kit with you. So much better than not having those things! In May, we hailed a passing boat within 30 minutes and got picked up.