I now understand why Copacabana is an icon in Rio. It is super duper HUGE. The coast line is very very long. I can imagine it will be full of tourists during the summer.
I was there on a winter so not many people were on the beach. Even so, i still saw some people surfing. Because winter there was not very cold. It was only 20ish celcius degree.
But, if you look for a more quite yet smaller beach. You should go to Ipanema or Le Blon, which most locals like to go instead of Copacabana.