Patagonia athlete Jeff Denholm lost his arm and became a force for good
Words by Neil Pearlberg • Photos Tim Davis

Known as one of the most dangerous ocean passages in the world, the Bering Sea challenges mariners with a volatile mix of harsh conditions. The bitter cold air and sea temperatures combine with massive waves rising up from shallow depths during frequent storms.

It was July 1993, 100 miles off the tiny island of St. Paul, Alaska, and an exhausted twenty-four year old Jeff Denholm was holding on for dear life in the engine room of an Alaskan dragger that was being tossed around like a rag doll in thirty foot seas. In a mere split second, his life was turned upside down.

A sudden rogue wave slammed into the starboard side of the fishing trawler, throwing Denholm across the engine room, and right into an exposed spinning …