Growing up in Minnesota, Troy Michels, a co-founder of the recovery drink company Resqwater, spent winters on a snowboard and the warmer months on the four-wheeled equivalent. "By the time I was in fourth grade, I had built a ramp," Michels says.
And by his high school years, he had mastered the 50-50 grind and the rock 'n' roll. Then, he "got busy with life." Michels created Target's lifestyle marketing division and led it for more than seven years. But his career took a turn after one especially sodden night, when he tried an antihangover brew concocted by a chemist. The potion works by helping protect the body from acetaldehyde, a pain-inducing byproduct of alcohol metabolism in the liver. He downed two bottles. Given how much booze he'd drunk, "I should've wanted to be in bed until noon," Michels recalls. Instead, he woke at 6:30 a.m. ready to jump on his board. He joined the Resqwater founding team in 2012 and helped refine and repackage the product. Five-year sales forecast: $168 million.
Michels usually rides a Cal Surf deck with independent trucks. He focuses on simple flip tricks, plus an occasional new move he sees the kids doing. Returning to his roots is part of the point. "Skating allows you to go back into the mindset of a teenager--to feel like you're at that moment in time again," he says. "When I'm on a skateboard doing the tricks I did as an eighth grader, I feel like a kid again."
Resqwater has become popular among athletes--which, skatewise, has worked out very well for Michels. "I've been on Tony Hawk's ramp," he says. "I was on Shaun White's mini ramp at his house back in the day." This spring, Michels installed a ramp engraved with the Resqwater logo in his Minneapolis backyard, to use during the snow-free months. There, Michels's 4-year-old son, Ryder, has already started tooling around on his own board. "It's something you can do your whole life," says Michels. "Anyone can go out there and experience the feeling of hitting a home run or scoring a touchdown, anytime they want, by learning a new trick," he adds. "It's a really amazing feeling."