I first questioned your comment because of your saying that you hadn't tended to see expedition paddlers pedaling. But for example in our winter pod, everyone is. As for many training groups I have been in. My experience cannot be so uncommon. We are not elite paddlers. My best guess is that you are seeing more of it than you can recognize.
But - and I think this is where the break is - by the time you have someone in a dry suit, a layer or two underneath and a PFD, in a neo deck skirt, it is going to be very difficult to spot lower body movement unless someone is sticking way up out of the cockpit and has prodigious action in their middle part. I have low decks on my boats, but by the time I am loaded up with those layers at 5'4" in height no one is going to be able to tell if the lower part is pedaling. The only visible evidence will be the quality of my torso rotation overall.
In summer, with also warm water, in more form fitting clothes, maybe. But in the northern part of the country, that is not the majority of the year.
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