yes, i would think you're trying to hard. fs spins, although intially easier, do require a bs finish. can you do 180s consistently? can you do ollie bs180s? those help with being able to do the last part of the threes, and the handle-passing.
to me, pulling the handle to your hip and spining too hard are not the same thing. if the handle is being ripped from your hands, that's usually a sign of not advancing on the rope enough (i.e., not bringing the handle in enough), so that you get caught with your hand behind you trying to hold on.
anyways, yes, the 3 is easier than you think it is in terms of spining energy. the first thing darin shapiro told me at camp was "whoa dude, ease up. it's only a 3."
some possible consideration points:
1) easier cut - you take a pretty good cut at your backroll. you don't need a big cut. the harder you cut and the bigger you go - the harder the handle-pass is (which is why it's considered so difficult to do big huge 5s into the flats). keep the energy light and easy.
2) wait to spin. folks can do ollie 3s. that means you don't need a lot of time to make the spin. i've made 3s when i was sure i was going to crash because i was turning so slowly - but i stayed with it and landed no problem. we tend to think we have to rush around. make sure you're starting the spin after you've taken off the wake. for hs 3s you don't have to initiate the spin any earlier.
3) practice the handle-pass on dry land, perhaps with your rope tied off to a door or something. when you, make sure to practice actually pulling the handle in and advancing your body.
i practiced 3s on a tramp, but without really advancing on the rope (since there's no pull from a boat you don't have to). it didn't help me. i went back to the tramp and practiced 3s pulling myself forward, and then went out the next time and landed my first one.
the handle-pass isn't a natural thing. practice gettting the handle to the middle of your back and really knowing that your other hand has it before you let go.
probably you're just taking it too big to start. you're a big guy and you pull hard on your cuts. you probably just need to take it a bit easier, which will make getting the handle simpler.
hope at least some of that helps.