Local high school students release 3-minute documentary on blind skate boarder

Chad Rivera is a skater and martial arts instructor who is also blind.
(Tosh Carr)

Chad Rivera, a North County skater and jiu-jitsu instructor who is also blind, has inspired others in the community with his perseverance and positivity.

Two Carlsbad High School juniors made a three-minute documentary, “Skating Beyond Sight: A Journey of Perseverance,” that they posted to YouTube to pay homage to Rivera and the impact he has in the community. They also want to use Rivera’s story to inspire others to make a positive impact on the world.

“I think it was really cool being with him while we were filming it, just seeing how he has to live his life differently to deal with what he has to deal with on a daily basis,” said Sebastian Hrisanthopoulos, 16.

Sebastian and his partner in the project, Tosh Carr, 17, have been friends since kindergarten. They came into contact with Rivera through Tosh’s father, who has skated with Rivera at the skate park in Encinitas. After going back and forth on the phone, they began filming.

In the documentary, Rivera describes going blind one day while he was driving. He had to quickly pull over after a stoplight ahead of him suddenly became blurry. Since then, skateboarding has been “healing in a way that you can entertain yourself,” and a way for him to meet personal challenges.

“As life goes on, it became I think more of a security blanket than I ever anticipated it to be,” Rivera said.

His martial arts practice has been another way to stay active and mentor others.

“The opportunity to teach at a school and share those skills has been very self-gratifying,” said Rivera, an instructor at Surfight in Del Mar.

As the students note in the video, “he never shies away from pushing himself to the limit.”

“We just really want people to see how, despite challenges that you may face on a daily basis, it’s important to keep a positive outlook on life and to enjoy everything to the best of your ability,” Sebastian said.

Tosh and Sebastian have done a lot of filmmaking together for their classwork and on a freelance basis. They credit their broadcasting teacher for helping them hone their skills and love of filmmaking.

“We want to just keep going,” Tosh said. “We love just meeting new people and learning their stories. That’s why we do this. It’s a learning experience for us every time. We want to work on bigger projects, and it would be awesome to make a business out of it, do this for a living.”