is to get yourself safely to shore (if you are talking about white water). To do this, your feet are up and usually pointed downstream (as if sitting in an invisible chair) and you are using your hands to guide the direction of your float towards shore, not actively swimming after something. Last thing you want to do is to run your head into rock. Your partner(s) should be worrying about gathering the boat and the yardsale items.
The darkfin gloves are more appropriate/useful to board surfing. For kayaking, I did use something similar to the darkfin to initially learn hand rolling.