Our friend and fellow surfer André has had a deadly accident whilst on a journey in a school bus in New Zealand. Our thoughts are with parents, family and mutual friends.
Over many years André has been actively involved in the SSA. He participated in many Swiss Championships and qualified succesfully for several European and World Surfing Championships. He represented Switzerland in divisions such as bodyboard kneeboard shortboard and longboard.
André Vogel will always be remembered as a very cheerful, loving person with a great passion for traveling the world in search of waves.
--- written by Miguel Bulling
André Vogel loved life. He was an adventurer who'd sailed the seven seas and surfed them too. André loved the outdoors, hiking, camping, rafting, cycling, snowboarding, sailing, kayaking, mountain climbing. You name it, he'd done it somewhere round the world.
Born in Australia, one of four boys, André grew up exploring the coast, bush and outback of Australia. With his family he'd travel to Switzerland every few years to visit relatives and upon the completion of his high school and technical college he lived in Sils Maria, im Engadin for a winter. The following summer (1997) he bought an old red BMW and drove down to France where he met the Swiss Surfing Association for the first time, surfing in the Swiss Championships and acquiring one of the original Victorinox red-nosed longboards. With the board on the roof and new friends André travelled down the Portugese and Spanish coasts before exploring the surf of Morroco. Adventures around Europe and Australia followed, and a few years later he was back in the Engadin snowboarding another winter, this time with his brother Stefan Vogel. In April they took a cheap flight to Feurteventura for a week of surfing before finding their way via plane, train and bus to St Girons, France for the 2000 Swiss Surfing Championships. At the championships, staying in the team house, André & Stefan met many life-long friends. In the competition Andre finished 5th in the shortboard final. He also showed off his body-boarding style and earned a place on the Swiss Surfing Team at the World Surfing Games 2000 in Brasil.
At the WSG 2000 Brasil, held at Porto De Galinhos, André was the one leading the laughter, cheering and good times along with his friend Sami Fahkredine. He competed for Switzerland in the body-boarding and knee-boarding divisions. After the completion of the competition Andre met an old friend at a nearby port and set sail north. Over the next months they sailed the South American coastline and Carribean Islands, surfing and exploring new surf breaks through Venezula and other places. Andre then lived in Tobago, collecting coconuts and surfing beautiful reef breaks, before heading to London and Europe again.
André returned to Australia in 2002 and lived at Kirra and Snapper Rocks, on the Gold Coast, where he'd surf everyday with his brother and Sami. Many a surf adventure to Byron and beyond was also enjoyed. He later moved to Cairns, Australia where he discovered his career, Outdoor Education, by following his passion of adventure. In Cairns André met his partner Liv and the two of them spent many happy years studying, practising and then teaching Outdoor Education in Cairns, Brisbane and rural Victoria. They welcome their beautiful daughters Shanti and Maya into the world and were soon hiking/riding/kayaking the mountains of New Zealand, Argentina, India, and all over Australia with the girls on their backs or handlebars.
André and family settled at Perigian Beach on Australia's Gold Coast where they spent mornings and afternoons at the local beach or surfing André's favourite wave, Tea Tree Bay at Noosa. Andre set up an outdoor education program at the local Steiner School and would take the students on many adventurous trips. It was on one of these trips to New Zealand, following a week hiking around the mountains, that the tragic accident happened. André died instantly when his van collided with a truck on the road, south of Rotorua. His death is being mourned by hundreds of friends from all over the world. André lived a hundred lives and will be fondly remembered as an awesome brother, beautiful son, loving father and partner, loyal friend, free-spirited surfer and adventurer, action-packed outdoors person, and one of the best people you ever met on your travels.
---Written by Stefan Vogel
Post Script-Tributes, stories and photos from his friends will be shared at his memorial service next week. For those wanting to contribute please contact Stefan Vogel via the SSA homepage (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Facebook page.